Kabul, Afghanistan, 4-5 December 2013 – Representatives of dozens of regional businesses and assistance groups met in Kabul on Wednesday at an Indian-Afghan trade fair. More than 700 participants and guests attended the opening ceremony and visited the exhibition where 19 Indian and 25 Afghan participants showcased their innovations. Organizers said the fair was tailored to bring Afghan individuals and organizations that are best-positioned to forge innovative meaningful business-partnerships with Indian counterparts.
The first ever India-Afghanistan Innovation Partnership Fair in Kabul was set to run for two days. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan, Kabul Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Federation of Indian Chambers of commerce and Industries (FICCI) were the main organizers.
Participants showcased new technologies and management techniques for agriculture, clean energy, education, health, mining, textiles and small and medium businesses.
“India and Afghanistan are natural trading partners, and it makes great sense to support that relationship,” said USAID Afghanistan Mission Director William Hammink. “Innovation can be a strong foundation for powerful economic growth in both countries.”
The fair promoters said they hoped to bring together actors within Afghanistan’s “social innovation ecosystem” – meaning inventors, social-venture capitalists, angel investors, donors, service providers, and corporate foundations — to stimulate innovation-led development. “The fair’s goal is to provide greater opportunities to NGOs and private sector organizations in Afghanistan to introduce cost effective solutions to improve the quality of life.”
“Since 2003, combined domestic and international investment in Afghanistan has rocketed from $9 million to $2 billion annually. The country’s agriculture, health, construction, mining, and manufacturing sectors are absorbing the lion’s share of the investment capital,” Haji Mail Agha Khairkhwa, Chairman of KCCI said.
“Innovative solutions have helped India increase agriculture production, educate many more people in rural India and prevent diseases such as tuberculosis,” said H.E. Amar Sinha, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan. “This innovation partnership will help Afghanistan in doing the same.”