Enhancing Regional Business-to-Business Partnerships

The Enhancing Regional Business-to-Business Partnerships initiative aims to improve regional economic cooperation by focusing on connecting business across the region. It fosters a range of business support, regional trade, and investment promotion activities to improve collaboration, lay the foundation for joint ventures and other kinds of business-to-business (B2B) partnerships, foster foreign direct investment in Afghanistan and its wider region, and engender regional technological transfer and information exchange.  The bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, signed between the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and at least twelve neighboring country Chambers of Commerce and Industry, forms the the basis for regional B2B coordination and support. Each Chamber of Commerce and Industry is expected to identify at least one focal point within its secretariat to participate in daily dialogue and coordination activities with his or her regional counterparts in direct support of this initiative’s regional trade and investment goals. This regional B2B business support and investment promotion initiative should also be supported directly by the Ministries of Commerce and Finance, and relevant investment and export support agencies, in the participating countries. This initiative is expected to buttress regional economic growth, job creation, and public revenue generation through, in particular, increased foreign direct investment stemming from new joint ventures and strategic trade and industrial partnerships.

Current Status

The Enhancing Regional Business-to-Business Partnerships initiative builds on the successful bilateral alliances built in recent years between the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries and its counterparts in neighboring countries, including, for example, the Afghanistan-Pakistan and Afghanistan-India Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industries. It also acknowledges that the time is not ripe (nor can initial seed financing be secured) for standing-up a Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Regional organizations and programs, such as SAARC, ECO, SCO, CAREC, and UNSPECA, have been consulted and are supportive of continued efforts to bring together commercial and industrial private sector partners from across the region to forge strategic partnerships, drive innovation, and spur growth. It also builds, for example, on UNDP’s Livelihood Improvement in Tajikistan-Afghanistan Cross-border Areas (LITACA), which has organized business forums, trade fairs, and business-to-business matchmaking between Afghan and Tajik entrepreneurs, and trained 162 Afghans and Tajiks from neighboring districts in basic skills development and knowledge for entering each other’s local markets. This initiative, building on earlier RECCA B2B support activities, will serve to reinforce the Afghan Government’s Private Sector Development National Priority Program.

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • Encourage active private sector participation in the RECCA Regional Business Forum planned for November in Istanbul.
  • Support Investment Road Shows across the region to encourage innovative public-private-partnerships and direct foreign investment in the RECCA regional cooperation and investment projects.
  • Promote business-to-business cooperation strategies in the region that are carefully tailored to the needs of Small-and-Medium-Sized Industries (SMEs), including in the areas of simplifying customs measures, addressing information on regional markets, and addressing tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Budget & Funding Status USD $6.1 mil (est.) from private and public sources
Institutional Partners Afghanistan and all neighboring countries in the region (including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, and investment and export support agencies in the participating countries), as well as regional organizations and programs such as SAARC, ECO, SCO, CAREC, UNDP and UNSPECA