In Kabul, Afghanistan the United States established the new American Chamber and named Dom LaVigne as its first executive director this past November. Dom LaVigne, former executive director of the American Chambers of Commerce in Singapore and Malaysia, recently sat down with International Trade Specialist Doug Barry to discuss the many opportunities for business in Kabul.
The first issued addressed by Dom LaVigne and the American Chamber was the safety concerns in Kabul. Many people believe that the security risks of conducting business in Kabul outweigh the rewards and potential profits that could be made. However this is certainly not the case. Kabul is relatively quiet and secure compared to the other areas in Afghanistan. Additionally, the American Chamber was established in Kabul with a long-term mindset because of the rich opportunities for businesses.
The first opportunity present in Kabul lies in the large supply of valuable minerals waiting to be mined and developed. Recent studies show that Afghanistan has up to $3 trillion in mineral wealth including gold and many other valued minerals. China and other countries around the world are beginning to notice the large profits these minerals in Kabul can provide. It’s true that developing these minerals will require building a supply chain and infrastructure from scratch. However, these basic needs provide businesses the opportunity to offer their services to other companies in Kabul which in turn allows these businesses to generate solid profits.
Outside of opportunities in mineral wealth, there is also a big demand for construction. Currently, a development project called “Little Kabul” is planning to construct 40,000 houses for people, many of them expatriates. Another need is for climate controlled warehouses that provide food and consumer products at a reasonable price. Because of poor supply chain and storage, food and other consumer goods are very expensive in Kabul. This provides an opportunity for businesses to invest their services and earn profits while doing so. More prospects lie in the retail sector of Kabul. The retail sector is dominated by small businesses and there are huge potential rewards for bigger businesses who decide to join the mix.
Although Kabul is flooded with many needs, these basic essentials offer opportunities for businesses to partner with Afghan companies and begin conducting business in Kabul. The American Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan will look to further improve the business climate of Kabul over the next few years and help companies interested in doing business there.