UN envoy urges international community to buy Afghan goods
KABUL - The United Nations and the Peace Dividend Trust today urged the international community to buy locally-produced products to boost Afghanistan’s growing private sector economy, at a conference to promote local Afghan suppliers.
The Local Procurement Conference and Trade Fair brought together more than 100 Afghan firms and business leaders from a wide spectrum of industries, including construction, media, handicrafts, and logistics, and procurement officers of major international organizations.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Kai Eide said: “Afghanistan’s private sector is central to creating job opportunities and generating tax revenues for government services. Without a healthy private sector Afghanistan’s growth will be stunted. We want to encourage faster growth by persuading the international community in Afghanistan to buy local, buy Afghan.
“Together with the Peace Dividend Trust and the Government of Afghanistan we are helping to connect suppliers with customers from the international community – from the basic necessities such as fruit and vegetables to building materials and technical assistance there are Afghan suppliers who are willing and able to meet your needs.
“I urge the international community in Afghanistan to demonstrate its commitment to the economic growth of this country by voting with their budgets and buying local. We have to get away from old habits. This is not 2002 anymore. We should stop looking outside Afghanistan’s borders for all that we need. There are Afghan companies today which can supply the international community. By buying Afghan we not only increase Afghanistan’s income but also build much needed capacity and we create jobs.”
According to Mike Capstick, Country Director, Afghanistan, Peace Dividend Trust: “This conference is important because it provides a tremendous opportunity for senior members of the international community to gain insight into the capabilities of the Afghan market. Too many international bodies here are still sourcing all of their goods and services from outside the country. Since jobs and economic development are crucial to the development of a stable and secure Afghanistan, it is in the international community’s interest to formally adopt ‘Afghan First’ procurement policies.”
The Local Procurement Conference and Trade Fair was also supported by US Ambassador H.E. Karl W. Eikenberry and Minister of Economy, H.E. Dr. Jalil Shams, who addressed the delegates and the media.
The Conference also featured panel discussions by leaders of Afghan industry and key international delegates on the selling and buying experiences of both, local vendors and the international community.
A vendor showcase of a wide-range of goods and services by Afghan businessmen encouraged procurement officers from embassies, NGOs and donor agencies to meet with local industry leaders and see, first-hand, the quality and competitiveness of indigenous products.
UNAMA’s key role is to promote peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan, by leading the efforts of the international community, in conjunction with the Government of Afghanistan, in rebuilding the country and strengthening the foundations of peace and constitutional democracy.
Peace Dividend Trust is a non-profit foundation that promotes the growth of private enterprise in post-conflict economies by implementing innovations in peace and humanitarian operations.