Afghan Companies Brave Security Threats for Better Businesses Opportunities
For anyone who has dealt with meeting donors reporting requirements or has had to navigate countries individual contracting procedures, the complexity and required detail needed to fully understand what is being asked – and the headaches associated with achieving this – will not be unheard of.
Unfortunately if you’re trying to get a contract though NATO then you can multiply the above by 28-the number of nations that make up one of Afghanistan’s international buyers.
The good news is that PDT has been advocating NATO to implement an Afghan First Policy that will make it easier for Afghan-owned business to win contracts [something not always easy when your first language isn’t English, you are unaware of the procedures you need to follow and the buyer is targeted by insurgents]. The other good news is that on May 19th PDT-A supported ISAF/NATO to host a procurement seminar. It is hoped that the event will give Afghan-owned businesses a better understanding of how to bid successfully on ISAF contracts and result in a greater number of contracts being awarded to Afghan-owned companies.
Despite the recent attacks on International security forces approximately sixty Afghan-owned businesses attended the event from sectors including; beverages, construction goods and services, alternative energy, fuel distribution, manufacturing, transportation/ logistics, furniture and packaging. Their attendance highlights the resilience of the business community and of the business leaders who will overcome ongoing security challenges in order to rebuild their country and the Afghan private sector.
During the event ISAF contracting staff presented lectures to inform Afghan-owned businesses of ISAF’s contracting policies. The businesses had a lot of questions including; whether locally manufactured goods were preferred (they are), what happens if you don’t have past performance (you will be started on a smaller project and your performance assessed) and whether solicitations can be put into local language (expected by the end of the year)?
The event closed with Major General De Vos telling the audience that NATO Afghan First Policy has meant that “NATO has opened its doors a little bit more”. Mike Capstick, PDT-A’s country director also drove home this point telling business “this is hard work but it’s worth it. Afghan First is the center of gravity for this counterinsurgency campaign” and that PDT would continue to advocate on businesses behalf.