Another remarkable accomplishment by the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI)!

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AWCCI inaugurated its new Office building in Kabul on August 24th, 2020. With the new office capacity, an in-house Women’s Business Resource centre is also opened- the WBRC will serve women owned businesses to develop and expand their businesses.

In the inauguration ceremony, many dignitaries including, H.E. Minister Safi from Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Director of CIPE in Afghanistan, Chair of Boards of two prominent banks such as Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) and Ghazanfar Bank (GB), the Chair of Board of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and members of other national and international organizations participated. Participants also included more than 50 Afghan Business Women. Chief Guest H.E. Minister Hasina Safi inaugurated the new facility by cutting the ribbon.

The ceremony was kick-started by reciting a few verses of Quran Karim to mark the full recitation of the holly book done by the staff of the AWCCI. Ms. Afsana Rahimi Chair-BoD of AWCCI welcomed the event’s guests and participants, also presented her gratitude to the sponsors and backers as well the women leadership of the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries who spent tireless hours to bring about an auspicious occasion such as this. Ms. Rahimi added that in this important juncture of time in Afghanistan the peace process and negotiations, women business owners must not be forgotten. They did not only risked their personal lives by starting these businesses but more than $88 million of their total investments are at risk. It is worth mentioning that a video of the construction process was displayed to the guests. The video is available on AWCCI’s YouTube Channel.

Afterwards, Ms. Manizha Wafeq, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of AWCCI spoke about construction of the new building for AWCCI’s Head Office and Women’s Business Resource Centre. The new Head Office facility is built by a loan acquired from Afghanistan International Bank. Almost half of the equipment for building and part of Women’s Business Resource Centre (WBRC) are provided by CIPE. She added ‘our Women’s Business Resource Centre with the financial and technical support from CIPE will continue providing improved and systematic business development services such as trainings, mentorships, exhibitions, marketing services, access to finance and others. WBRC has a training room and a day care to enable businesswomen with children make use of the services. Ms. Wafeq at the end of her remarks, thanked the supports of the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, H.E. First Lady and her office, H.E. President, some colleagues of the Ministries of Commerce and Women’s Affairs and some other supporters.

H.E. Hasina Safi Minister of Women’s Affairs as keynote speaker of the event started her remarks by congratulating AWCCI for its new office building and WBRC. She expressed her content over AWCCI’s activities and services to women business owners. She said women’s economic empowerment is a necessary part of the women’s over empowerment work and discourse. She recalled AWCCI and its predecessor organization’s work a few years and how in a fast pace of time AWCCI has reached to a great capacity and has made great advocacy for women’s economic position in the country. She expressed that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs is determined to support institutions’ services to women specially the ones like AWCCI. She also promised to be an advocate for AWCCI’s plans and work in the higher policy making and decision making tables such as the Cabinet meetings, High Councils and others. As her speech ended she was joined by Mr. Nasib CIPE’s Afghanistan Country Director, Ms. Manizha Wafeq, AWCCI’s CEO, Ms. Pawarish Oryakhail AWCCI’s Deputy CEO, Ms. Saida Faqirzada AWCCI’s WBRC Director to do an opening of WBRC by symbolically cutting the ribbon on a signboard.

Our closing remarks was delivered by Mr. Nasib CIPE’s Country Director, he expressed content over CIPE’s cooperation with AWCCI. He mentioned that CIPE is active in a number of countries in the world and has experience of helping business service institutions and is delighted to share those successful experiences with AWCCI. CIPE’s example of WBRC in other countries will help AWCCI  run a better centre and provide services needed. He also mentioned that CIPE in the past had work with other Chambers in Afghanistan for example Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce in many areas specially National Business Agendas and now the same support will be provided to AWCCI to develop the its National Women’s Business Agenda. He again congratulated AWCCI for the opening of the new building and WBRC and wished for more success and accomplishments for the businesswomen of the country.

At the end of the event- AWCCI presented Certificate of Appreciation to those who made this remarkable achievement possible; CIPE for its support to WBRC for 18 months, AIB for providing long-term and easy loan for construction of AWCCI’s head office and for an individual Eng. Aziz Nassery owner of Turbo Engineering Co. who volunteered his time and expertise to oversee the construction work of the building.

More than 17 women businesses had set up their tables to exhibit at the end of  the program so, the guest were served refreshments as they visited the tables and purchased women’s products such as clothing, jewellery, shawls, pickles and jams, saffron and so on.

As part of its opening AWCCI has considered to continue the exhibition for three days and conduct ‘More Afghan in Business’ campaign seminars with university students and informal businesswomen.