Monday, July 15, 2024

Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan

Immigration News

Khaama Press
Khaama Press
Khaama Press is a Kabul-based independent and non-political news organization established in 2010.

Women entrepreneurs have overcome cultural and economic barriers in recent years to achieve financial independence, particularly by advancing the export of domestic products. The role of women in this regard has been tangible. Some women, while granted permission to engage in activities, still struggle with numerous challenges and obstacles.

Alongside imposed limitations, women face a series of other factors, such as a lack of coordination and coherence among female business activities, limited access to international markets, lack of marketing facilities for product sales, and still being denied access to exhibitions and major competitive programs.

In this context, Raziya, a businesswoman in Kabul who lost her job after the rise of the Taliban administration and has become a homemaker, comments on her work and life situation: “Previously, the market for selling products was better. We had many customers both domestically and internationally, and we could sell our products at better prices. But for now, we can’t provide livelihoods for our employees, and the rent for shops is too high. That’s why we closed our shop, and I’ve been unemployed for a while.”

Meanwhile, Farzana Kohistani, another determined woman who owns a blanket factory, has managed to obtain permission to participate in exhibitions after considerable efforts. She states, “Currently, I have permission to showcase my products in exhibitions, but I haven’t received any financial assistance from any governmental organization or external entity to support the growth of my activities.”

Although women faced numerous challenges in their economic and commercial activities during the previous regime, the presence of various international institutions to support and facilitate more job opportunities for Afghan women led to their growth and continued activity in all fields.

Saeeda Ghaznewal, a businesswoman in the capital city who has been involved in trade activities in person since 2019, states that the rise of the Taliban temporarily halted her work, but she has resumed her activities. She still advocates for participation in domestic and international exhibitions.

At the same time, Azira Momand, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, expresses satisfaction with the increase in women entrepreneurs after recent developments. According to her, “In the past two years, although all work and activities for women were prohibited, the only way women could work was through trade, striving to continue their lives and support their families.”

She also mentioned that in four zones of the country, the Chamber of Commerce for Women is active and hopes that it will expand to more provinces.

However, Abdul Salam Akhundzada, the spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, states that according to statistics, women’s presence in the investment sector has increased by 66% compared to previous years.

He adds that in 1401, a total of 641 women obtained licenses for commercial companies and investments. This is while in 1400, only 385 women had obtained licenses.

Akhundzada further adds that the Women’s Chamber of Commerce has 560 members. Throughout the country, 8000 Afghan women are actively engaged in various sectors, including healthcare, handicrafts, agriculture, food, industry, mining, and ordinary trade. Women’s participation in the investment and economic sectors of the country can elevate the importance of families’ livelihoods and narrow the scope of poverty in the country.

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