ICC formally opens office in Kabul
KABUL (Pajhwok): The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Thursday formally opened its office in Kabul to attract foreign investment and support Afghanistan’s participation in world meetings to improve relations with foreign countries.
The license for the ICC operation in Afghanistan was given away by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah at a special ceremony here.
Abdullah said the ICC branch’s opening in Afghanistan was a great development, thanks to efforts by Afghan investors and industrialists.
“Besides facilitating the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the ICC branch will also pave the ground for foreign investment and widening our relations with the private sector in every part of the world,” he said.
“The private sector has somehow improved, but we are not satisfied with our performance in this area and we should provide a better environment for it,” the CEO said.
He added the private sector continued its operations and invested in different areas even in difficult situations and suffering of losses.
Atiqullah Nasrat, chief operating officer at the ACCI, talking at the ceremony, said opening of the ICC branch in Afghanistan would give a boost to the country’s economy and help the chamber of commerce and the private sector.
He said the ICC was also working on awareness among Afghan traders about global commerce issues.
Maiel Aaqa Khairkhwah, chief operating officer for ICC in Afghanistan, said the aim of opening the office was to pave the way for cooperation and connecting the two chambers (ACCI and ICC).
He said the ICC with support of the private sector and the international community would help improve Afghanistan’s economy.
Azrakhsh Hafizi, international relations director at the ACCI, said that the opening of the ICC branch would help Afghan traders connect with their foreign counterparts.
He said the ICC would also resolve Afghan entrepreneurs’ problems abroad. However, he was concerned about declining trade and closure of 25 factories last week due to absence of facilities including electricity.
“Afghan investors are running businesses in 51 countries and their exports are five times higher compared to Afghanistan exports,” he added.
Hafizi put the value of Afghan traders’ foreign investments at more than 150 billion US dollars and said there were various reasons behind doing business abroad.
Hekmat Khlil Karzai, the deputy foreign minister, hoped the country’s relations with other countries would strengthen with the opening of the ICC branch in Afghanistan.
He said the ICC Afghanistan would help develop the private sector, attract investment and improve commerce relations with the organization’s member countries.
Development of the private sector and cooperation with relevant institutes was high on the country’s economic agenda, Karzai said.
The ICC has 92 member countries and around 6.5 million companies are registered with it.
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