USAID/RAMP UP South
A USAID project to clean up a key business hub in southeastern Afghanistan pays off
10 DECEMBER 2012 | ZABUL, AFGHANISTAN
Shahjoy may be an important business hub for Zabul province in southeastern Afghanistan but it has long lacked the municipal services necessary to expand economic activity.
That is changing. Working closely with Shahjoy community leaders and the municipality of Qalat, capital of Zabul, the USAID-funded Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations – South (RAMP UP) launched a pilot project to transform the city. The pilot project was meant to engage Shahjoy’s 56,000 residents in the business licensing process. This includes paying a business license tax. Ever since, the bazaar - one of the largest in the region - has been cleaned up and more than 530 businesses licensed.
In early October, Radio Television Afghanistan, the national government news channel, dedicated a primetime segment to the pilot project in Shahjoy. It featured an interview with the District Governor, Ghulam Sediq, who called the project an “achievement for the people.” He said that it was likely to effect a revenue increase of anywhere “between 60 and 80 per cent” for the municipality. The news feature also recorded Shahjoy residents’ appreciation of the change underway in their city. They said it was the first time that Qalat municipality had conducted a project like this in Shahjoy and they hoped such work would continue.
The media attention can partly be attributed to RAMP UP-South’s robust public outreach campaign. Increased exposure in the local media has helped inform Shahjoy’s residents of the services provided by the municipality and given them some sense of the correlation between tax paid and the sustainable provision of municipal services.
Last updated: January 20, 2015