Entrepreneurship in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is ravaged economically for decades due to terrorism, war and internal conflicts. To develop entrepreneurship in the country, one requires a stable secure environment that does not have any threat of terrorism, war or conflicts. Economic, political and social stability become very important factors in providing the desired environment for one to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors, nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship, create an ecosystem within the country and safeguard stakeholder interests.
Entrepreneurship involves lot of risk by itself and coupling it with an unstable environment does no good to those who do dare to dream of pursuing their entrepreneurial endeavors and to those who may have the funds to support those endeavors. Majority of the people hence focus on completing their education and get employed with a multinational company and enjoy the security of a stable monthly income. However it is not to say that the Entrepreneurial spirit is not there in the country, it is slowly picking pace with many private sector programs, summits / expo’s, incubation and growth in co-working spaces building the foundations for an ecosystem to nurture and develop entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
With the ease of doing business ranking, Afghanistan has made some progress by jumping from rank 183 in 2018 to rank 167 in 2019. The world bank generates the Doing Business report by studying 190 world economies, so on that note it has a long way to go, however its good to see the progress over the last year. Women Entrepreneurs seem to be leading the charge in launching and scaling businesses. A number of initiatives are being taken to promote women entrepreneurship. For a country that has been torn in conflict for decades, a lot needs to change, one of the changes being brought around is the increasing focus on empowering women in shedding traditional thinking, barriers and launching businesses and succeeding in running them.
Pro development initiatives and the resulting success stories definitely makes a strong case for the change that is taking place on ground, and thus attract private sector investments in deserving areas. The country is rich in minerals with thousands of mines spread across the country. Mining these resources could improve the economic prospects of the country, but lack of knowhow, lack of infrastructure and occupying of the mine rich regions by terror outfits and war lords has made it difficult to create a legitimate accountable system for the mining industry to operate in and be profitable for the country.
The funds flowing into the country is mostly towards development and reconstruction of the country’s basic infrastructural needs and not towards private investments in businesses. The available funding comes from organisations such as the world bank and certain developing countries as aid. Mining industry has attracted foreign interest and investments, but the benefit is yet to be seen as the situation on ground is not conducive for the foreign companies to carry our normal business operations. Venture funding inflow and private investments is bare minimum if not close to nothing, and that comes as a result of the fear of losing an investment in an unstable environment.
The development aid seems to be slowing down, as the social and political climate are not certain. Most of the youth in the country find it difficult to get a job and are willing to take up any act of terror or illegal doing to earn a bread. The common afghan is still not able to witness any benefit from the billions of dollars that have been moved into the country for development. It would only make sensible to divert the development aid as funding for noteworthy startups that could grow and create jobs and change the economic and social climate of the country. Nurturing entrepreneurship can be the best solution to most of the problems in Afghanistan today on one end, and adding up for the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem at the other.
The following links provide insightful information on the current state of affairs, business and entrepreneurship in Afghanistan.