A former senior manager at a USAID project takes his career to the next level
19 SEPTEMBER 2012 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
After spending years working in Kabul to turn Afghanistan into a global market player, Safir Sahar has taken his mission to the next level. In August, the former USAID project manager began working to promote his country’s economic interests as Afghanistan’s first Commercial Attaché in Geneva, Switzerland, home to the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and hundreds of major multinational corporations.
“Afghans will never have political independence unless we have economic and financial independence,” said Safir from Geneva as he began his new job.
In support of his goal of a prosperous Afghanistan, Safir had helped lead USAID’s Trade and Accession Facilitation for Afghanistan (TAFA) project as Deputy Chief of Party, and Senior Trade and Customs Advisor prior to that.
At TAFA, Safir served as one of the senior Afghan negotiators in the finalization of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA) designed to facilitate trade and transit between the two countries. He celebrated the conclusion of that landmark agreement in Islamabad in the presence of world leaders such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Safir was also a driving force behind Afghanistan’s journey to WTO accession and participated in two key WTO meetings in Geneva to support Afghan officials in their negotiations to become a member of the renowned trade organization.
“TAFA is really helping Afghans build their capacity, and I am one example of that,” Safir said. “I have learned a lot.”
In July, Safir was appointed by Presidential decree as the Afghan government’s first Commercial Attaché to Switzerland. He is also serving as a Trade Representative to the WTO on behalf of the Afghan government and regards WTO accession as one of his primary goals in his new job.
“WTO accession is vital for our economy,” said Safir. “It will open the door to rest of the world for Afghanistan.”
Last updated: January 20, 2015