Passage to Prosperity 2: India – Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show Launches
“We’re moving beyond mere contracting and embracing collaborating. Today, we're recognizing that agencies like USAID don't need to be the sole actors in the development space. Instead, we can be catalytic actors that incentivize and channel private investments. We're rethinking how international development initiatives are designed, tested, and rolled out, and we're embracing the creativity and the entrepreneurship that the private sector brings to the table.” – USAID Administrator Mark Green, July 30, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC (August 15, 2018) - USAID hosted the Indian and Afghan Embassies for the Passage to Prosperity 2: India – Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show launch August 14, in Washington, D.C.
In partnership with USAID’s Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, the Office of Private Capital and Microenterprise’s INVEST Project co-hosted the launch event as part of USAID/Afghanistan’s $15 million initiative.
Karen Freeman, assistant to the administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan, kicked off the event focused on connecting Afghan companies to outside investors.
“As businesses in Afghanistan begin to expand, reaching markets in India and around the world, they join the global market and network,” Freeman said. “Trade creates dialogue, fosters sharing of ideas, and accelerates the journey to self-reliance.”
Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, and Santosh Jha, deputy chief of mission, Embassy of India, each spoke at the event hopeful of the economic future in the region.
"USAID remains committed to Afghan entrepreneurs that work to create the best export qualities," said Mohib. "From 2014-2017, USAID formed 298 public-private alliances, which leveraged nearly $300 million in private investment; 87 percent of which came from Afghan companies."
The USAID/Afghanistan INVEST initiative is focused on mobilizing private investors in a variety of growing trade sectors including energy, carpets, gems, and airport services.
“If you grow local businesses, then that leads to increased growth and stability,” said Lala Faiz, an investment Foreign Service Officer at USAID. “The event brought over 175 private-sector players together that are interested in increasing investment in Afghanistan and to promote the upcoming Mumbai Trade and Investment show next month.”
In September, USAID product managers will hold one-on-one meetings with businesses, and joint-venture training will be conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce for approximately 30 Afghan companies. USAID expects approximately 200 Afghan businesses, including women-owned businesses, to participate in the event set to take place Sept. 12-15 in Mumbai, India.
The upcoming Mumbai event builds on a similar event held in 2017 that helped strengthen the relationship between the two countries. That event drew more than 1,000 Indian merchants looking to secure contracts, partnerships, and investment opportunities with more than 240 Afghan businesses and private sector entities. More than $27 million in contracts were signed between Indian buyers and Afghan vendors, in both raw and processed agricultural products.
This year’s event in Mumbai promises to build on the successes of the first show and expand its impact beyond India. The show will highlight Afghan companies’ capabilities and potential, and portray Afghanistan as a dynamic, developing country prepared to enter the international market.