Ms. Parwarish Oryakhail, the Vice-President of Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AWCCI) participated as a speaker in Afghanistan-Pakistan Youth Entrepreneurs Conference held in Islamabad on February 27, 2020. The conference was organized by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) – an Islamabad-based think tank – in partnership with its Afghan counterpart, Organization for Economic Security and Peace (OESP) – based in Kabul.
The objective of this conference was to engage young business leaders from both Afghanistan and Pakistan to explore regional economic and business opportunities as well as share ideas and experiences, which can be beneficial for both countries, particularly in the field of IT, digital economy, e-commerce and the like.
Ms. Oryakhail spoke to the youth from both countries during this session and talked about the women-led businesses operating in Afghanistan, and the opportunities for cross-border ventures. She shared the challenges Afghan business-women faced in establishing the AWCCI. She invited the youth entrepreneurs to consider focusing on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), stating that SMEs create most jobs and can be expanded with resilience and perseverance. For example, Afghan women businesses have created more than 80,000 employment opportunities for both men and women. She hopes that the relationship between the two countries would improve so that entrepreneurs on both sides would build positive partnerships.
In this conference, around 20 youth entrepreneurs from Pakistan and Afghanistan belonging to various fields came together in the federal capital under a well-conceived plan to boost business cooperation between the two neighboring countries. Other speakers, guests and participants were Ms. Naeem Zamindar, former Chairman, Board of Investment (BoI), Pakistan, Ms. Fatima Anila, a Certified Business Mentor and Director at Alishverish Enterprises, Ms. Afsheen Zeeshan, Senior Vice President of Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), Ms. Faiza Zubair the Secretary General of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PAJCCI), Officials from Pakistan’s National Incubation Center (NIC), Mr. Naqibullah Safi, Executive Director, PAJCCI, Afghanistan, and some other Afghan and Pakistani startups.
The conference also inaugurated the formation of a Pak-Afghan Youth Entrepreneurs Caucus, which would hold follow-up meetings over the next year to monitor the progress of joint ventures between the two countries’ youth entrepreneurs.
At the request of IWCCI’s Vice President, the Vice President of AWCCI agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two chambers to cooperate in women-led businesses across borders and in supporting each other.
AWCCI along with the other Afghan delegates visited the National Incubation Center (NIC), Islamabad the next morning.
AWCCI’s participation in this important conference results in connecting youth entrepreneurs from both countries, which will continue to engage them in follow-up meetings over the course of this year.