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Afghanistan. Overview of the Microfinance and BDS Sectors and Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs FAO 8 th of March 2005 Ruxandra Boros . Afghanistan ethnic profile. Complex and fluid: Pashtuns; Tadjiks Hazara Uzbek, etc. 80% Sunny Muslims; 20% Shia Muslims

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Overview of the Microfinance and BDS Sectors


Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs

FAO 8th of March 2005

Ruxandra Boros

afghanistan ethnic profile

Afghanistan ethnic profile

Complex and fluid:

Pashtuns; Tadjiks


Uzbek, etc.

80% Sunny Muslims; 20% Shia Muslims

Official languages: Dari (Persian) and Pashto

some elements of history

Some elements of History

1746 1st Afghan kingdom created by Pashtuns (also known as Afghans)

1881-1901 Abdur Rahman creates a centralized state

1921 Independence from the British and 1st constitution

1973 Coup: Kingdom is replaced by a Republic

1979 Soviets invade Afghanistan

1989 Soviets pull out from Afghanistan

Factional fights by the mujahideen parties

1996 the Taliban enter Kabul and establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

2001 Fall of the Taliban regime

labor market indicators

Labor market indicators

Population: 24.5MM

10.7MM workforce; 70% < 30yrs

70% of men and 10% of women access employment: total est. 4.2MM, of which 2.3MM involved in opium cultivation thus 1.9MM available workforce

80% urban; 20% rural

Literacy rates: 29% male; 14% female

11% of women are widows

Women said to contribute 43% to family income

55% of all enterprises are ‘family owned’

living conditions

Living conditions

13% have access to safe water and 12% to adequate sanitation

Life expectancy at birth: 42.8 years

Highest infant mortality rate in Asia

N-E region the highest maternal mortality in the world

Chronic malnutrition 50%

40% of medical facilities have no female staff

economic indicators

Economic indicators

GDP: $7.3BN ($2.5BN opium)

GDP/capita: $199 (excl. opium)

90% informal economy

52% agriculture; 24% industry; 24% services




(Microfinance Investment and Support Facility for Afghanistan)

A vehicle to channel funds to MFIs that comply with MF best practices



14 MFIs active in 18/32 provinces (including a microbank)

$15-$100/loan up to $3000 (60% loans o/s < $100; 30$ loans $100-$200)

75,000 savers and 51,139 borrowers

100% repayment rates

$15.7MM disbursed by end 2003

business development services bds

Business Development Services (BDS)

A nascent sector: transition from humanitarian aid to economic development

Scarce supply; Weak demand

Embryo BDS Prviders Forum

Need for a Certification mechanism

Need to support entrepreneurship and enterprise development by men and women including in rural areas

need for an innovative approach to disseminate information: radio!

women entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs

Observe ‘purdah’

Lack of information

Sense of isolation

Need for training, exposure, opportunities

Need advice on product development & linkages to market


entrepreneurship development model

Entrepreneurship development model



Strategic assets




  • Resources
  • Human
  • Social
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Technological
  • Organizational