Afghanistan—Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ASMED)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2006-2012

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Afghanistan

Solutions: Economic Growth

ASMED supported small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the major drivers of Afghanistan’s economic development. Through support for investment, technology, and business development services, ASMED improved private sector productivity by expanding SMEs and increasing employment. ASMED collaborated with Afghan private sector and international partners in key sectors such as agribusiness, carpets, marble, gemstones, and business services. We also facilitated public-private partnerships, grants, and practical and technical training. In its final year, ASMED concentrated on creating professional, commercial linkages among SMEs in 25 key districts.

Sample Activities

  • Help establish small and medium-sized businesses and create full-time jobs in Afghanistan.
  • Train Afghan men and women in business courses.
  • Establish business associations (25 for women alone), and support the growth of associations through grants.

Select Results

  • Established 50 Global Development Alliances—public-private partnerships on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—leveraging $100 million from private partners.
  • Generated 95,000 jobs.
  • Organized participation in 30 international trade fairs that generated $45 million in sales for Afghan businesses.
  • Supported the next generation of Afghan leaders by helping 2,000 university students (approximately 25 percent of whom are women) complete a comprehensive internship program; another 500 (approximately 170 women) participated in the project’s Young Professionals Mentorship Program.
  • Utilized 11 percent more local small businesses as partners than originally planned.


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