On August 3rd, 2015, The International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development (ICAWED) of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), organized and hosted a conference in collaboration with Chemonics International, Regional Agricultural Development Program-South (RADP-S). It was attended by Ms. Nasima Niazi; Member of Parliament from Helmand, Ms. Shakiba Hashimi; Member of Parliament from Kandahar, members of the international community, government officials, civil society officials, and more than 60 businesswomen from the provinces; Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Herat, Nangarhar, and Kabul.
The Women in Agribusiness Networking Conference aim was to bring together female entrepreneurs, small and medium women-led enterprises, civil society and government officials to work towards the common goals of; increasing women’s participation in agriculture, generating market linkages for women, and creating more opportunities for business to business transactions. Additionally the conference introduced micro-finance and other credit initiatives to the women agribusiness-owners.
Ms. Nasima Niazi and Shakiba Hashimi highlighted importance and strength of women-led agribusinesses in the South. “I am thankful to USAID for promoting market linkages for women through conducting business to business training and for training women in management,” said Ms. Hashimi. “I am hopeful that USAID will help us to cope with challenges we face in our agribusinesses.”
The Associate Director of ICAWED, Ms. Madina Mahboobi, presented ICAWED programs and the future vision of the center to empower women in economic sector. “In order to change long-standing attitudes and open new doors for women in the economy and workplace a broad and innovative approach is required” said Ms. Mahboobi.
Following the speeches, representatives from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan, Afghan Women Business Federation, and Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock, took part in a panel discussion. They responded to concerns from the business women regarding exports of their products and market centers throughout Afghanistan.
The event was closed by Campbell Dunlop from RADP-S -Value Chain Advisor at Chemonics International. “We will facilitate business linkages between women-led agribusiness in the south and market centers throughout Afghanistan in order to increase new business and sales for women entrepreneurs.”