Would appreciate it if you may tell us some about the structure of ACF.
ACF is governed by its Board of Directors, which is composed of elected and appointed representatives of sectorial chambers and independent representatives of large-scale investors.
The make-up of the ACF board is as follows:
- Five members from the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI);
- Four members from the Afghanistan Chamber of Industries and Mines (ACIM);
- Three members from the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries (AWCCI);
- Three members from the Afghanistan Chamber of Livestock and Agricultural Products (ACLAP); and
- Three members from the Afghanistan Chamber of Shopkeepers and Craftsmen (ACSC).
Meanwhile, there are two independent directors representing large-scale businesses and investments of the country and one independent director as a legal or economic expert. There is also one representative from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as an observing member in the Board.
The Board of Directors of the Federation is the highest decision-making and policy-making authority in Afghan’s private sector. The CEO is appointed by the Board who is supported by a team of executives responsible for all operational affairs of the Federation.
ACF represents the Afghan private sector’s interest at national and international levels and aims to be a bridge between the private sector, the Government of Afghanistan, and the international community.
What is the role of ACF in the private sector of Afghanistan?
ACF is the umbrella organization for sectorial chambers and private sector entities mandated to serve as an advocating body for the private sector. ACF represents the Afghan private sector’s interest at national and international levels and aims to be a bridge between the private sector, the Government of Afghanistan, and the international community. It enables a conducive environment for doing business in the country.
ACF’s mission is to empower the private sector to achieve national economic welfare. It aims to enable a prosperous business environment for the private sector and provide leadership in linking the private sector with opportunities. So far, we have identified and reviewed the challenges, gaps, and priorities of Afghanistan’s trade and investment for presentation to our international partners to receive their support to improve the business environment. Meanwhile, communication, facilitation, advocacy, lobbying, and negotiation are ongoing between the Afghan private sector, Government, national and international partners to facilitate specific investment opportunities.
How do you analyze the role of ACF in establishing cooperation between the various chambers in Afghanistan?
With nearly a century of experience in establishing forums, unions, and chambers; the Afghan private sector has reached another milestone in its journey towards organizational maturity. As elaborated in Article 18 of the Law on “Regulating Chambers’ Affairs”, ACF is established as an umbrella organization for sectorial chambers and private sector entities. ACF is mandated to serve as an advocating body for the private sector and it represents the Afghan private sector’s interest at national and international levels and aims to be a bridge between the private sector, the Afghan government, and the international community.
Would appreciate it if you tell us about your investments in Afghanistan.
Our investment includes over $250 Million in physical assets, new partnerships with the largest international mining, hydrocarbon, oil field services, and banking institutions. We are also under contract for over $1 Billion in petroleum product supply and services throughout Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Would appreciate it if you may tell us about your investments in the energy sector of Afghanistan?
Ghazanfar Group plays an important role in the energy sector; the Afghan Power Plant Company is implementing Mazar Independent Power Plant (Mazar IPP) project. The Company is affiliated with Ghazanfar Group and the project is the first IPP in Afghanistan. It will produce 50 MW of electricity via a gas turbine model and sell the electricity to Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS). The nature of this project is committed to being more than 20 years between IFC-World Bank – DABS & Ghazanfar Group.
What are the main factors that you consider significant for investing in Afghanistan?
The main factor which is significant for investing in Afghanistan is access to financial resources and loans. Most investors do not have access to financial resources and due to lack of access to these resources and loans, they cannot operate as they need and intend.
The most important problems in accessing financial resources in Afghanistan are:
- Tough lending regulations and distrust of banks and financial resources for lending to investors;
- Investors’ distrust on the banking system for opening accounts;
- Lack of access to easy long-term loans;
- High interest rates of banks for lending;
- No processing loans for start-ups; and
- Lack of insurance system in Afghanistan.
In addition to the above problems, the below challenges are noteworthy:
- Insecurity and instability of country’s situation;
- Corruption and bureaucracy;
- Lack of access to infrastructures including land, industrial parks, water resources, electricity, transport and rail transport and strategic stocks;
- Lack of trade and transit agreements with neighboring countries; and
- Lack of transit routes and no access to commercial waterways and limited air corridors is another effective factor to investment in Afghanistan.
What are the main challenges facing foreign and domestic investments in Afghanistan?
Afghanistan faces several challenges. In addition to security, political and natural disasters that have undermined Afghanistan’s progress towards socioeconomic development, the below challenges are the main bars for foreign and domestic investment in the country:
- Legal framework for investment;
- Developing tax regime and low tax compliance;
- Non-transparency in customs administration;
- Less developed transport infrastructure and high transportation costs; and
- State’s low capacity in the provision of utility services.