The World Bank’s second survey of the private sector reflects that while many private firms in Afghanistan are trying to adjust to the new business environment, the majority still face significant challenges.

In a press release on Monday, September 5, the findings of the World Bank’s Private Sector Rapid Survey (PSRS) Round 2, which assessed the state, constraints, and investment prospects of businesses as well as the impacts of ongoing economic problems faced by private sector organizations in Afghanistan, were made public.

According to Melinda Good, the World Bank’s Country Director for Afghanistan, “The new survey confirms the resilience of Afghanistan’s private sector, which can play a key role in the economic recovery of the country and improving the lives of all Afghans.”

While there are signs of resilience, the political unrest, the isolation of Afghanistan from the international financial sector, and the decline in international assistance, according to the survey, continue to challenge the firms.

The majority of businesses are only deemed partially open because they are often operating much below their full capacity. Although it seems to have mildly increased in recent months, consumer demand remains quite low, the findings of the survey suggested.

Women-owned and women-run businesses are most negatively impacted by restrictions on women’s mobility under the Taliban, according to the World Bank, which has a disproportionately negative impact on revenue and employment losses.

Compared to before August 2021, female employment is still 62 percent lower today, World Bank’s press release noted.

While overall levels of corruption concerning paying taxes and clearing products through customs are much lower than they were a year ago, the main concern that persists is the decline in investments, which has an impact on employee salaries and, consequently, employment.

“Action is required by the authorities to unlock possibilities for much-needed international economic integration and domestic opportunities for Afghanistan’s private sector,” Good stated.

Afghanistan still has significant social and economic challenges, which have a negative effect on the welfare of its citizens, particularly minorities, women, and girls.

The sanctions on Taliban and the Taliban’s draconian policies on women have exacerbated not only the situation in Afghanistan but also impeded the Taliban recognition and financial engagement with the global financial system.

Author

  • Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).