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Jobs, the Future and Afghanistan

Jobs. Doesn’t matter whether you have one or not, they’re on everyone’s mind. President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress about the subject two weeks ago. Former President Bill Clinton is discussing it today at his annual Clinton Global Initiative, which kicked off in New York City.

Peace Dividend Trust talked about it yesterday at an event where we launched our Job Creation in Afghanistan: Putting Aid to Work report. It is the first study that sheds light on jobs created as a result of international spending and local procurement. An estimated 118,000 jobs were created in Afghanistan as a result of the PDT Marketplace. 118,000. Imagine how many more could be created if there were a steady stream of deals and prospects for Afghanistan’s marketplace? That was one of the points made and discussed at PDT’s launch event at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York.

The event was kicked off by The Economist’s Matthew Bishop who is, along with Michael Green, the co-author of Philanthrocapitalism – a book that is focused on donors moving into market-based solutions to solve world problems. One of the reasons they’re moving in this direction, as was noted in yesterday’s meeting, is that “aid is broken.” The good news is that there are major efforts to fix that.

More effort is being poured into high-risk, high-return projects in places like Afghanistan that will put people to work and allow them to build businesses and a marketplace that will last. Donors, philanthropists and world governments are identifying and targeting force-multiplying industries such as construction and manufacturing that have the potential to stabilize fragile economies. That’s important in Afghanistan, where pessimism is on the rise as the drawdown date for US troops approaches.

Progress in Afghanistan, as this report notes, is not forgone. Through this report and the data collected from it, PDT has created a platform to understand better the kinds of jobs created, the conditions in which they were created, and the ensuing results of their creation. They are results that fill an important gap in information both about Afghanistan’s marketplace and the impact of the international community’s spending. It’s information we believe provides the tools to develop a roadmap for building and, more significantly, scaling-up Afghanistan’s economy.



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