In 2007, Afghanistan’s licit economy grew by a staggering 13.5%, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the fastest in South Asia. This growth was led largely by impressive gains in Afghanistan’s licit agricultural sector, but also gains in all its primary exports including raisins, carpets, wool, pistachios, almonds, onions, and gemstones. Domestic industries such as telecommunications, construction, building materials, financial services, and others are also gaining quickly.
The information and the links below are designed as rough guides and general links for the interested businessperson. If your business has specific interest or questions concerning investing in Afghanistan, importing Afghan goods, or starting a business in Afghanistan, you should contact our office at: 1-202-482-1812 or AfghanInfo@trade.gov.
The Afghan Investment Support Agency (AISA) is responsible for registering all foreign and domestic businesses in Afghanistan and assisting companies with navigating the multitude of profitable investment opportunities in Afghanistan. The World Bank’s Doing Business Survey has consistently rated AISA’s ability to register a new business among the best in the world, with fewer procedures than any other developing country or even the United States!
Market Information, including reports from world experts in the field, on Afghanistan’s many vibrant economic sectors from agriculture to telecommunications.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the leading private sector organization in Afghanistan. They can also assist prospective investors to find partners and navigate the exciting Afghan market. Their global partners include:
Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (McLean, VA)
Afghan Business Council in Dubai
The American Chamber of Commerce of Afghanistan (AmCham/Af) is affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The AmCham/Af is located in Afghanistan and hosts events, incoming delegations, and international businesses and corporations. The AmCham/Af is endorsed by the US Ambassador to Afghanistan and works closely in-country with the Department of Commerce to attract and support international business. AmCham/Af’s mission is to promote US business interests in Afghanistan and members have access to a vast network of business information and contacts in country. Highly respected, long-term American, Afghan and Asian companies belong to the AmCham.
Afghanistan Procurement Directory, a vetted company directory produced by the Canadian NGO Peace Dividend Trust, can help you find a partner for your business venture in Afghanistan.
Afghan craftsmen are world famous for their handmade carpets and jewelry, while Afghan’s fertile soil fed by deep snow-fed aquifers produce world-class quality agricultural products. Top exports to the United States include handmade carpets, gemstones, pine nuts, licorice root, and other dried fruits and nuts. Regional exports include raisins, pistachios, pomegranates, onions, and marble/granite materials. For more information on some of these specific sectors, refer to our Market Information page, which features reports from world experts in the field, or contact the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force at: 1-202-482-1812 or AfghanInfo@trade.gov.
The Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan is dedicated to promoting Afghanistan’s processing, marketing, and distribution of its many commodities. It is primarily focused on Afghanistan’s three most export competitive sectors: agricultural goods (especially dried fruits and nuts), carpets, and mined materials (especially marble and gemstones).
Afghanistan Procurement Directory, a vetted company directory produced by the Canadian NGO Peace Dividend Trust, can help you find a vendor for the Afghan goods or services you seek.
Treasury Clarification on Iran Transshipment
March 13, 2008
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued some interpretative guidance regarding U.S. imports of Afghan goods, which have transshipped Iran. In summary, U.S. persons (citizens, companies, etc.) are allowed to import, purchase, resell, etc. carpets and foodstuffs (fruits, nuts, spices, etc.) whether or not they transshipped Iran. Indeed, U.S. persons are allowed to even engage in loading such Afghan goods at an Iranian port. For further details, please refer to the OFAC letter or to the OFAC website on U.S. sanctions policy towards Iran.
Gemstones, Jewelry, and Handicraft Products from Afghanistan
A list of various sources for Afghan-origin products!
Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps.Gov) The primary portal for U.S. government procurement opportunities. The Vendors Guide details the process of searching for procurement opportunities. Vendors may initiate a search for Afghanistan-related procurement opportunities by selecting the Find Business Opportunities link on the FedBizOpps.gov homepage and creating a search for Afghanistan.
The Joint Contingency Contracting System is a database of existing DOD contracts available in Afghanistan.
Central Contractor Registration (CCR) Database is where U.S. companies seeking U.S. Government prime contracts are required to register prior to award of any federal contract, basic agreement, basic ordering agreement, or blanket purchase agreement on or after October 01, 2003. Please also refer to the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) Handbook (900KB PDF only) for more information.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Afghanistan has numerous projects to expand economic opportunity, agricultural productivity, and improve the efficiency and accountability of government. Some procurement opportunities can be found on project specific websites such as:
Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Program
Contingency Contracting and Contractor on the Battlefield Policy, Guidance, Doctrine, and Other Relevant Information
Background information on contracting with the U.S. military in a battlefield.
Guide to Determining Business Size (120KB PDF only)
The Pentagon Renovation Program's "Guideline to Small Business Size Determination and Category Definitions" helps U.S. companies understand how to qualify as a small business.
Defense Base Act (DBA) Insurance Coverage
The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a guide to Defense Base Act insurance coverage, a requirement on all U.S. government contractors and subcontractors working outside the United States to cover civilian employees, including U.S. citizens, as well as third-country and local nationals.
The Procurement Unit of the Afghan government is the main facilitator for the awarding of contracts on behalf of Afghan ministries and the municipality of Kabul. The Unit is supervised by the Minister of Planning and Minister of Reconstruction and is part of the Afghanistan Reconstruction and Development Services. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) fund the majority of projects. Interested firms are advised to register using the “PU registration” link on the home page.
The Unit contacts consultants and firms from this registry. Firms may also register by e-mailing information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Companies are also encouraged to refer to industry ministry websites for sector specific opportunities.
The World Bank is the most active multilateral institution in Afghanistan. Since April 2002, the World Bank has committed $456 million in grants and $436 million in loans for projects in Afghanistan.
The World Bank also manages the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which provides a coordinated financing mechanism to the Interim Administration of Afghanistan. Funded by more than $400 million from donor countries, the Trust Fund helps with priority projects and programs to rebuild Afghanistan and facilitate the return of skilled expatriate Afghans to the country. It also provides short-term emergency funding for salaries of civil servants.
The World Bank projects such as those listed below, include infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and public administration. Read the complete list of World Bank projects in Afghanistan.
Information about procurement opportunities from the World Bank (and other international donors) can be obtained for a fee from the United Nations Development Business.
U.S. firms may obtain assistance and more information about World Bank projects from the U.S. Commercial Liaison to the World Bank.
U.S. Commercial Liaison to the World Bank
Mr. Will Center, Senior Commercial Officer
Tel: (202) 458-0120
Fax: (202) 477-2967
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
The ADB is a multilateral development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. The ADB plans to extend $600 million in assistance from 2004 through 2006 in the areas of natural resources, transport, energy, financial services, and the public sector. Read the complete list of ADB projects in Afghanistan.
The Asian Development Bank projects include:
Promoting International Trade and Cross-Border Trade Facilitation
Consulting firms and consultants must register on the ADB's DACON (Data on Consulting Firms) and DICON (Data on Individual Consultants) systems in order to be able to submit Expressions of Interest.
Information about procurement opportunities from the Asian Development Bank (and other international donors) can be obtained for a fee from the United Nations Development Business.
U.S. firms may obtain assistance and more information about ADB projects from the Office of the Commercial Liaison to the ADB in Manila. This office works closely with the Office of the U.S. Executive Director to the ADB to increase American awareness of, and participation in, the ADB's activities.
U.S. Commercial Liaison to the ADB
Mr. Frank Foster, Senior Commercial Officer
Tel: (63-2) 887-1345
Fax: (63-2) 887-1164