Improving economic outcomes for Herat at heart of UNAMA-backed forum
HERAT - Stronger ties between industry and government will contribute to improved economic outcomes at the local and provincial level, according to participants at a UNAMA-supported forum in western Herat.
More than 20 people attended the one-day forum which brought together local investors, representatives of local business associations and the Herat Industrial Union, along with local government officials and UN staff.
Located in the west of the country, Herat shares a frontier with Iran and Turkmenistan, making it an important gateway for trade.
Khalil Osman, Head of UNAMA’s Herat office, said that local and international economic stakeholders assessed “the economic situation with a focus on investment trends and economic dynamics, identifying gaps, challenges, resources and opportunities, as well as proposing actions for improvement.”
Mr. Osman reiterated the need for stronger coordination among relevant government institutions, the private sector and international stakeholders in the economic sector. This could be achieved in Herat province through the government-led Economic Governance and Private Sector Development Committee and the Herat Economic Committee, he said.
Mirwais Mangal, Deputy of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency office in Herat, pointed to progress in support to agriculture, with a 20 per cent increase in investment in the sector during the first half of 2016.
“In general we see positive changes in the increase of attention by the National Unity Government to private sector development,” said Mr. Mangal, “however, there is still a need for business-friendly policies, notably an improved legal framework and tax policy”.
Ms. Sima Qoryani, Head of the Women's Saffron Union, said that vocational training of women was an important factor in greater involvement of women in business at the local level.
“We see effective training programs being implemented in the district level, but these should target more remote areas and need to be monitored effectively,” said Ms. Qoryani.
Forum participants reiterated the need for stronger coordination among relevant government institutions, the private sector and international stakeholders in the economic sector.
The United Nations currently supports more than 80 projects and programmes in Herat, notably in social protection, and health and nutrition, along with the agriculture and rural development sectors.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides good offices; promotes coherent development support by the international community; supports the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.