Investing in Afghanistan
Business opportunities in the carpet industry
The tradition of Afghan carpets goes back for centuries. The richness and variety of designs reflect the cultural diversity of our country. The skill of our weavers is unrivalled in the world and make our carpets unique. Rightfully, our weavers take great pride in being part of this living heritage of our country. Commercially, the carpet industry is a cornerstone of our economy. It is our leading export sector, it represents an important source of income for the rural population, and it provides jobs to many returning refugees. However old the roots of the carpet industry, it has a great future ahead. Today’s globalised world, with the associated modern information technology, offers tremendous opportunities for the industry. The once remote place of Afghanistan is now well connected to the international markets. This allows to react much faster to changes in tastes and demands of the international customers. The combination of our heritage and weaving skills with these new opportunities makes for a bright outlook for the carpet industry. The Afghan people are hard-working and possess a spirit of entrepreneurship and resilience. Around the country we witness our people rebuilding their homes, villages, and cities. Everybody joining these efforts is welcomed with open arms by our people. Take advantage of the opportunities. We are happy to help all investors wherever we can. The time for business in carpets is now.
Why Afghanistan? Why now? Afghanistan is an exciting place for new business. With three years into the reconstruction process the signs of better times are visible around the country. The economy has been growing at an average rate of around 20% per annum over the last three years and growth is forecasted to remain strong over the next decade. All macroeconomic indicators underline the positive development that can be experienced around the country. The government's finances are in balance and inflation has been close to zero since the introduction of the new Afghani currency in early 2003. Many individual success stories of thriving businesses reflect the overall positive development of the country. Political stability has substantially increased over these last years. The presidential elections have been a great success and the victory of President Hamid Karzai demonstrates the strong support for the government and its policy. The international community has guaranteed continued large-scale support for the country. The government has shown its commitment to promote the development of Afghanistan's private sector. It has successfully introduced a sound business-friendly legal framework. The policy measures include clear and attractive investment, banking and taxation legislation. Parts of this legislation is currently updated to meet even better the needs of investors and to further facilitate the interaction between the government and the private sector. The government has actively negotiated a number of preferential trade agreements with neighbouring countries and receives important preferential market access to important overseas markets. The customs organisation and the tariff system have been drastically simplified, including a substantial reduction of tariffs. Public administration is being modernized and many procedures have been streamlined to reduce bureaucratic procedures. In all its actions the government has shown a hands-on approach to support businesses willing to invest. The infrastructure around the country has been substantially improved. Two mobile telecommunication networks cover all major and many smaller cities as well as many of the main roads. Similarly, several internet providers are offering their services in Afghanistan. As a recent example, US based Group Sat just decided to invest US$ 36 million into broadband services for Afghanistan. Along with many other projects, the Kabul-Kandahar road has been...
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