Problems linked to finding markets, sale of products, establishment and development of trade relations are crucial and important in the cross-border areas of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The cross-border market and cross-border bridge infrastructure constructed in Tajikistan’s side and ready to be officially opened in 2017 after completion of “Silk Road” construction and demand in sharing of knowledge and experience on cross-border trade of Tajikistan's stakeholders by the counterparts in Afghanistan created favorable conditions and served as a well-timed opportunity to enhance the economic cross-border cooperation.
With the purpose to create favorable environment for entrepreneurs to discuss and enhance business development and extension opportunities, to make presentation of locally produced products, establish long-term business ties and partnership links between local, Tajik – Afghan, regional and foreign entrepreneurs, investors and business stakeholders in Tajik-Afghan cross-border areas, in 2016 UNDP with support of JICA initiated series of events related to establishment and promotion of cross-border cooperation, like: a) Tajik - Afghan Business Forum, b) Trade Fair and c) Business to Business (B2B) Meetings that considered as the only initial solutions for establishment and development of cross-border trade.
Project beneficiaries' needs assessment was conducted before conducting B2B meeting, matchmaking exercise, business forum and trade fair to follow knowledge of entrepreneurs in cross-border trade and accordingly experience exchange (study tours) between Tajik and Afghan entrepreneurs has been conducted during B2B meeting, matchmaking exercise. In addition, business training has been conducted for additional 185 entrepreneurs (including 55 women) before planned events. 3 Business Support Centers (BSCs) has been established with the purpose to provide consultations to entrepreneurs on development of business sector.
Accordingly, as a result of above-mentioned interventions the following results have been achieved:
- Ensured favorable opportunities for 150 entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries to discuss establishment, development and extension of cross-border trade through cross-border forum;
- Increased knowledge of 33 (9 female) Tajik – Afghan entrepreneurs on establishment and development of cross-border trade and the ways of joint cooperation through matchmaking and B2B meeting;
- Ensured presentation of both countries entrepreneurs produced products in the trade fair event with the purpose to establish trade relations;
- 12 memorandums of understanding including cooperation contracts have been signed between Tajik – Afghan entrepreneurs in the cross-border forum with the purposes to establish, develop and extend joint businesses;
- 16 memorandums of understanding on further cooperation in the amount of more than 600 000 USD have been signed between Tajik and Afghan entrepreneurs on purchase and sale of dried and processed fruits, products, jewelry, construction of sugar factory, etc.;
- Experience exchange visit of Afghan entrepreneurs has been conducted to local enterprises to see and get acquaintance with the opportunities on further establishment of cross-border trade development and promotion of entrepreneurship network and relations.
From the social point of view cross-border business forums, trade fairs, B2B meeting and other relevant events ensure good neighborhood between Tajikistan and Afghanistan entrepreneurs. Similar events do also significantly contribute to promotion of peace, stability and security in the cross-border areas. It also creates a platform for cross-border economic cooperation, enhances trade ties and addresses the needs of rural population in employment through initiation of income-generation activities and sustains livelihoods of rural population (including women and young people) and rural development, promotes women economic empowerment in targeted communities.
Partners: Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) of Afghanistan, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan (MEDT), JICA, Embassies of Japan in Tajikistan and Afghanistan; State Committee on Investment and State Property Management of Tajikistan; Local Executive Body of State Power of Khatlon Province, Tajikistan; Local Executive Body of State Power of Kulob city, Khatlon Oblast, Tajikistan.
Budget: USD 97,000 (for business forum, trade fair, B2B event and business training) within USD 11 mln “Livelihoods improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-border Areas (LITACA)” funded by the Government of Japan, through JICA: https://vimeo.com/148089340
UNDP Tajikistan : Ruslan Ziganshin, LITACA Project Manager
UNDP Afghanistan: Mohammad Resool, Programme Officer, Livelihoods and Resilience Unit
Phone: +93 728999925