The Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII) was convened under the theme ”Deepening Connectivity and Expanding Trade through Investment in Infrastructure and Improving Synergy” in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on 14-15 November 2017. His Excellency Sarwar Danish, Second Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, His Excellency Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, and His Excellency Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan addressed the inauguration session. The Conference was co-chaired by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Conference brought together high-level delegations and senior representatives from over 67 countries and organizations.
A number of important events were convened on the sidelines of RECCA VII in Ashgabat including a Special Event on Women’s Entrepreneurship which was held in collaboration with the Office of H.E. the First Lady of Afghanistan, the Afghan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan and the United States Agency for International Development. The Special Event was inaugurated by H.E. the First Lady of Afghanistan; H.E Orazmyrat Gurbannazarov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan; Ministers of Commerce and Heads of Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan followed by two roundtable discussions on the challenges and impediments to market access and the success stories respectively with participants from Afghanistan, the region and beyond.
The RECCA VII program on the first day also included an exhibition of goods from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and regional countries as well as a business matchmaking event. More than 250 private sector representatives from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and regional countries including women entrepreneurs participated in the activities of the first day.
As part of the Ministerial Meeting of RECCA VII, three Working Group Meetings (WGMs) were also held on the first day of the Conference centered on three important areas: i) energy and natural resources; ii) regional connectivity, and iii) regional trade, private sector development, business-to-business cooperation, and labor support.
RECCA VII program on November 15 included a special signing ceremony for the Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement which marked an important milestone in the collective efforts under RECCA towards deepening connectivity and expanding trade.
The closing session of RECCA VII included presentation on the outcomes of the WGMs, Business Forum, Special Event and the Academic Forum as well as the adoption of declaration.
A number of offers expressed by regional countries to host the next meeting of RECCA. The information on the Eighth Meeting of RECCA including the date and venue will be communicated by the RECCA Secretariat at a later stage.