Female entrepreneurs lament loss of business opportunities


KABUL (SW) – Female entrepreneurs say that with the passing of time, they are losing more and more business with the harsh rule of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.

Nafisa Danesh, one of the saffron traders in Afghanistan, told Salam Watandar that in the past she exported saffron to 12 countries and nearly 21 permanent employees worked at her company. But after the reestablishment of the Islamic Emirate, it has not exported any significant volume of saffron and now it has only four active employees.

“Unfortunately, with the current government, we do not export abroad and we sell saffron to domestic traders only, but it’s been 4 or 5 months that we have no sales. Previously, we exported to India, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, America, Germany, Canada, Turkey and Dubai, but now there is no income. If this continues, maybe women will only could their shops open for another 3 or 4 months. They have to pay their rent and they are all getting bankrupt.”

Similarly, Amina Haqdoost, another trader who was previously engaged in food items trade in Kabul and Badakhshan, says that her sales have decreased by 90%.

“Earlier, we used to trade in herbal and food items. We had an agency in Badakhshan, which is now closed, and now we only deliver to a few districts of Kabul. Those who were with us are now unemployed.”

Meanwhile, officials of the Afghan Women’s Trade and Investment Chamber say that out of 4,500 businesswomen who were previously registered and working in this chamber, now only 1,200 businesswomen are working.

Mumtaz Yousafzai, head of the Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment, told Salam Watandar that the lack of economic projects and the difficulty in obtaining business visas have been one of the main challenges faced by business women in the past year and a half.

“Since 17 months, the economic crises facing women and the restrictions on them have increased. The right to work has been taken away from women and the women who worked in the private sector have become unemployed. The price of the license has also increased and we have not had any exhibition outside the country since 17 months.”