National Women Entrepreneurs Peace Summit “Entrepreneurship Brings Peace and Prosperity”

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AWCCI, with the facilitation of the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP), brings together women entrepreneurs from all 33 provinces to Kabul for a one-day Summit. The summit identified, assessed, and communicated recommendations in the form of a written Communique to negotiating parties that are grounded in the realities of women entrepreneurs representing all 34 provinces and women entrepreneurs from Kabul on the role of women entrepreneurship and how it can contribute to sustaining Peace and Prosperity on 27 July 2021.

The Summit entailed a number of important speeches including opening remarks by Ms. Afsana Rahimi mentioning that “the presence of women in the peace process is very important”. The AWCCI Chairperson’s speech was followed by Ms. Lailuma Nasiri, AMIP Steering Committee Chairwoman about the role of AMIP and the transfer of results from the event to the negotiating teams. She said that women were not included in the peace process and they should be given a vital role. Furthermore, Mr. Shafiq Atayee, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) Acting CEO conveyed remarks about industrial development along with investment development of the last 20 years in Afghanistan and how they have been impacted in the last two months. He also emphasized that ” Businessmen are very concerned about the current situation in the country, and the parties should consider the prominent role of the private sector in the peace negotiation process because the private sector has a direct role in establishing lasting peace in the country.”

In addition, H.E. Ms. Lisa Reefke, SRSG UNAMA delivered a keynote speech about the status of the Peace Talks and the International Community’s support to Afghanistan. Ms. Lisa Reefke said that “UNAMA is committed to support the parties within its mandate, to move forward in the peace process. When women are involved, the result will be a more inclusive and sustainable peace.”

The event also involved a panel discussion about how women’s entrepreneurship can help bring and sustain peace and prosperity. The panel was moderated by Kamela Seddiqi, CEO of Kaweyan Group of Companies and women from Herat, Mazar Sharif, Kandahar, and B  After the panel discussion, working group discussions about key topics related to women’s entrepreneurship and peace took place. The discussion and their outcomes formed the basis of the communique. Finally, the Summit ended with the presentation of the Communique by Ms. Manizha Wafeq, AWCCI CEO which will be transferred to peace negotiation teams. Ms. Manezha Wafeq also mentioned that 50 percent of women had started their businesses after 2014.

Afghan women in the private sector have made remarkable progress since 2002, going from zero to more than 2,471 formal businesses and over 54,500 informal businesses, owned and managed, by women across the country. The women’s contribution to the GDP of Afghanistan has been significant.  These are important achievements that must be sustained and strengthened through the creation of opportunities and the establishment of a peaceful and stable environment. As peace talks in Doha are likely to resume with more substantive discussions on key issues, it has become ever so important to bring to the attention of negotiating partners the imperative role that economic growth and within this the contribution of women entrepreneurs is in facilitating and sustaining peace.