Afghanistan may not seem like the ideal location for business opportunities. The country faces frequent blackouts, bombings, equipment shortages, and a consumer market that is untested. Despite these challenges, three Army veterans and a civilian who served in Afghanistan have decided to take on these challenges through their company, Rumi Spice.
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Over the past decade South Asia has experienced rapid economic growth, but its infrastructure growth has not kept pace. The World Bank recently came out with a report, “Reducing Poverty by Closing South Asia’s Infrastructure Gap,” which found that countries in South Asia need to invest up to $2.5 trillion in order to bridge the infrastructure gap in the next ten years. An infrastructure gap is the difference between a country’s development goals and its actual capability to obtain those goals.
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.
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.