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Economic

Peace process: businesswomen worry about their $88m investments in Afghanistan

By: Shukria Kohistani

KABUL: Addressing an inauguration ceremony of the Afghanistan’s Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (AWCCI) new office building in Kabul the other day, Afsana Rahimi Chair-Board of Directors of the AWCCI said businesswomen must not be forgotten during the peace talks.

“They did not only risk their personal lives by starting these businesses, but more than $88 million of their total investments are at risk too,” she said.

With the new office capacity, an in-house Women’s Business Resource center was also opened and will serve women owned businesses to develop and expand their businesses, a statement from AWCCI said on Thursday.

In the inauguration ceremony, many dignitaries including, Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hasina Safi, Director of CIPE in Afghanistan, Chair of Boards of two prominent banks such as Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) and Ghazanfar Bank (GB), the Chair of Board of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and members of other national and international organizations participated, the statement added. The participants also included more than 50 Afghan Businesswomen.

Afsana Rahimi Chair-BoD of AWCCI welcomed the event’s guests and participants, also presented her gratitude to the sponsors and backers as well the women leadership of the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries who spent tireless hours to bring about an auspicious occasion of inaugurating such an office, according to the statement.

Afsana Rahimi added that in this important juncture of time in Afghanistan, the peace process and negotiations, businesswomen must not be forgotten. “They did not only risk their personal lives by starting these businesses, but more than $88 million of their total investments are at risk too.”

Meanwhile, Manizha Wafeq, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of AWCCI spoke about construction of the new building for AWCCI’s Head Office and Women’s Business Resource Centre. “The new Head Office facility is built by a loan acquired from Afghanistan International Bank. Almost half of the equipment for building and part of Women’s Business Resource Centre (WBRC) were provided by CIPE,” she said, adding ‘our Women’s Business Resource Centre with the financial and technical support from CIPE will continue providing improved and systematic business development services such as trainings, mentorships, exhibitions, marketing services, access to finance and others.

Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs was the keynote speaker of the event, congratulating AWCCI for its new office building and WBRC. She expressed her content over AWCCI’s activities and services to women business owners. She said women’s economic empowerment is necessary for development of the country. She lauded AWCCI’s works that has reached to a great capacity and has made great advocacy for women’s economic position in recent years.

She said that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs was determined to support institutions’ services to women specially the ones like AWCCI. She also promised to be an advocate for AWCCI’s plans and work in the higher policy making and decision-making tables such as the Cabinet meetings, High Councils and others.

Meanwhile a number of businesswomen who attended an event marking the 101st Independence Anniversary of the country in Chehsotoon Palace last week, told The Kabul Times that they worry about their achievements in intra-Afghan talks, which is expected to begin this week.

“We have achieved a lot in post-Taliban era and we don’t want to lose it easily,” a businesswoman Mohsena, said, asking government and its allies that preserve the achievements made so far, in particular the women’s rights.

Women still struggling with many ups and downs in their lives. Government has been supporting our works and rights to a large extent and we don’t want any deal on our fate,” a handicraft exhibitor, Shaiqa, said.

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