The business communities of Pakistan and Afghanistan make it one of the most dynamic regions for economic development and prosperity. However, the local business community and young business entrepreneurs of the region still lack adequate opportunities to endow their share in the development of the Pak-Afghan relationship. The need of the hour is to motivate, channel and coach the local business communities of the region and enable them to be an employer rather than an employee. The prerequisites of a successful entrepreneurship are motivation, dedication and hard work but mistrust developed due to the policies of both countries on the war against terrorism developed hurdles and gaps in business relations between both countries. There is a dire need to bring these entrepreneurs to a platform of dialogues for the promotion of business ties in the interest of both countries.
As part of the Center’s ongoing Afghanistan-Pakistan Partnership program, this project brought together local business community representatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan to promote regional integration by bridging the gaps in business, culture and education between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The project aimed to foster entrepreneurial eco-systems to generate employment opportunities for entrepreneurs and make Afghan and Pakistani entrepreneurs an impetus of growth and to promote cultural dialogue between Pakistani and Afghan entrepreneurs.
A two-day exchange program was organized for Afghan participants to meet with business community representatives from Islamabad and members of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) on October 17-18, 2018. The purpose of the exchange meeting in Islamabad was to develop an interactive dialogue between the participants and the members of the FPCCI to better understand government policies on trade and policies on the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreements. Participants also discussed issues concerning the trade deficit between Afghanistan and Pakistan and how to overcome them.
The project also yielded the following results:
- Two television shows were recorded covering trade issues between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce Delegation met with Commerce Minister of Pakistan and presented him with information on issues the Afghan business community faces in Pakistan.
- The president and vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) asked for recommendations to support Pakistan-Afghanistan business relations. These recommendations are being prepared to brief Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.
- Members of the Pakistani parliament also participated in the meeting and mentioned that they would raise the issues in Parliament.