More work and income in northern Afghanistan

Project description

Title: Sustainable Economic Development and Employment Promotion (SEDEP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Overall term: 2015 to 2016

With the end of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and the start of the transformation decade (2015 to 2024), Afghanistan is in a crucial phase of its political, economic and social development. Around half of the Afghan population is underemployed or unemployed, and the lack of work particularly affects women. The economy is unable to absorb the 500,000 or so young men and women entering the employment market every year. Given the volatile security situation and uncertain political development following the withdrawal of international troops, the willingness of businesses to invest is low. The agricultural sector, which currently provides around 60 per cent of jobs in the country, is characterised by a high degree of subsistence farming and low productivity. Production surpluses are mostly exported as raw produce. Any processing is still only very rudimentary and predominantly geared to the domestic market. Poor quality and yet high production costs make it difficult to launch commodities on the international market.

People are unaware of existing possibilities for developing domestic value chains and therefore fail to take advantage of this potential. As a consequence, the private sector in northern Afghanistan (farms included) is unable to generate sufficient income and employment opportunities for the population.

Sustainable productive employment and income opportunities have been created for both men and women in all economically active population groups in the six northern provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Kunduz, Samangan and Takhar.

The project pursues a value chain approach for selected agro-based items, namely poultry products, cashmere, dairy products, wheat, almonds and dried fruits. The aim is to improve the technical, organisational and business skills of employees and managers in enterprises along the entire value chain and link them up via networks. Public and private service providers and interest groups are undergoing training so that in future they can tailor their services to demand. Together with its partners, the project team is also rehabilitating or setting up rural micro-infrastructure such as irrigation and storage systems. The people and the municipal authorities are learning how to operate these facilities themselves.

By improving the dialogue between public and private sector decision-makers the aim is to overcome obstacles in developing individual value chains. The enhanced communication between the two will increase the visibility and legitimacy of the Afghan state and strengthen the trust between individual members of the value chains. In all activities, there is a particular focus on the specific needs of women.

The consulting firm GFA Consulting Group GmbH supports the implementation of the project.


Bettina Otte