Afghanistan—Competitiveness of Export-Oriented Businesses Activity (ACEBA)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2020-2025

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Afghanistan

Solutions: Economic Growth

Many Afghan firms lack the competitive strength to maintain commercial viability in a distortion-free market, let alone to capture opportunities in export markets. The flagship economic growth project in USAID/Afghanistan’s portfolio, the Afghanistan Competitiveness of Export-Oriented Businesses Activity (ACEBA) project works to increase the competitiveness of export-oriented businesses, through a combination of key value chain support activities and export acceleration facilities designed to promote sustainable nationwide economic growth.

DAI’s market-oriented approach helps Afghan businesses increase the sales-worthiness of their products in international markets. We work with businesses from the inside to help fix their production processes, increase their productivity, and export products that meet international demand at competitive prices. The targeted product value chains are: marble and granite, gemstones and jewelry, carpets, cashmere, and saffron. ACEBA operates through “regional export accelerators” in the country’s main urban economic centers.

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Sample Activities

  • Provide support to the implementation of key value chain interventions that will improve inputs, quality, and product development by exporters.
  • Diversify and expand exporters’ network of international buyers—supporting exporters in engagement of sales agents in export markets, hosting buyer-agent site visits to Afghanistan, participation in business visits to importers and industry trade events abroad, and the development of effective presence on e-commerce platforms.
  • Improve exporter access to credit and investment from local and/or international financial institutions and investors.
  • Implement tailored firm-level export strategies.
  • Identify and mitigate major constraints within targeted exporters’ supply chains.

Select Results

  • Assisted the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), through a new process, to issue export certificates for 40,000 kg of lapis lazuli, 4.2 grams of emeralds, and 20.3 grams of rubies, collecting $7,637 in royalties. This is the first collection of royalties for gemstone exports that the MoMP has received in several years.
  • Partnered with Label STEP, the world’s only fair-trade nonprofit committed to the wellbeing of weavers and workers in the handmade carpet industry, to support Afghan carpet exporters by strengthening supply chain integration, quality control, and production management. Label STEP will organize weavers on local levels and cooperate with local producers and exporters to increase the weavers’ integration in the value chain, improve access to quality control, support production management, and enhance product quality.
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