The second USAID Forward Together: Women in Business regional trade fair ended this week in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh Province. The three-day event (March 21-23) coincided with this year’s observance of Nowruz.

The United States Agency for International Development in a statement said “USAID supports these annual regional trade shows to showcase products and services of Afghan women-owned companies or companies that employ substantial numbers of Afghan women.”

The statement further added that featuring a variety of businesses from Balkh Province as well as from six other provinces, the three-day event offered business-to-business networking and an open day for consumers to visit the exhibition.

“Trade fairs are a great way for Afghan women to reach discerning consumers in some of the world’s largest markets with their outstanding products,” said USAID Mission Director Peter Natiello. “This means better incomes, employment, and livelihoods for Afghan women and their families.”

Participating businesses identified more customers, suppliers, and contractors. Businesses also heard from customers and improved their understanding of customer needs.

In last year’s trade fair, businesses made approximately AFN 15.5 million from wholesale contract agreements and approximately AFN 2.9 million in direct retail sales, USAID said.