globalEDGE Blog: Afghanistan's Transition from War Zone to Marketplace

Afghanistan's Transition from War Zone to Marketplace

With the 2014 deadline set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, franchising consultants are starting to turn their attention toward the prospective market. Besides fast-food chains, there are not many American franchises in Afghanistan, but that may soon change as RadioShack begins to establish ties in the region. Other franchises are following suit, despite depressing property values, capital flight, and other economic woes. The promise among tech-savvy Afghan businessmen may facilitate economic growth, stability, and employment in the suffering region.

A surprise to some franchise consultants while scoping out Afghan markets, there appear to be many Afghan investors waiting for opportunities of growth. There are many qualified Afghan businessmen who are willing to grab American franchise prospects. As far as American interest in the region, the goal is knowledge transfer. To rebuild the country, franchises will be able to teach businessmen about infrastructure-building and business services expertise. Approved Afghan buyers must undergo training sessions, and employees will be educated in specific skill sets.

Yet the opportunity for success comes with a few setbacks. Security is obviously a major concern for expanding business to Afghanistan considering these are American owned companies. However, this concern is quelled slightly because it is Afghan leaders who will be running these businesses with Afghan employees. There is also the problem of attracting prospective buyers who are also qualified. Intensive training programs should minimize these shortages though.

In the past, franchising has proven to be a successful tool for both employment and economic growth. Franchising provides an already successful business model and extensive training, which is currently lacking in Afghanistan. The development of franchises will most likely not be a quick transition, but it has potential promise for growth and stability.

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