Afghan employers help boost the country’s economy
Afghanistan is in the headlines of the world’s media almost every day. News about the country mostly relates to terrorist attacks, bombings or kidnappings. Still, there is another Afghanistan which, despite all the difficulties, is struggling to get back to its glory days, when the country was a crossroads of culture and commerce, by laying the foundations for a better future of peace, social justice and economic development. This last depends on the reconstruction of the industrial and commercial sectors and of the bodies that represent them. These have been, and still are, undermined by security problems and the lack of the necessary structural reforms, which are in the making.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s country report (October 2008), the agriculture and services sectors account for the largest fraction of Afghanistan’s GDP, whereas industry, notwithstanding a construction boom, is taking off only slowly. According to IMF data, improvements in the trade balance have reinforced Afghanistan’s position, leaving space for further increases in its foreign-exchange reserves in 2008 and 2009. Foreign investment, too, is likely to grow, and the GDP is expected to rise by around 7.5% in 2008/9. Other macroeconomic indicators may not show much improvement, and the merchandise trade deficit looks likely to expand further.
The complex situation requires a comprehensive re-organization of the country and of its civil society, including employers’ organizations. What role can such organizations play in this context? What are the fundamentals of an effective employers’ organization? These topics will be thoroughly analysed and discussed in Turin from 10 to 13 November, during a workshop specifically designed by the ITC-ILO in collaboration with the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities, with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Employers’ Cooperation Programme. The workshop is being attended by 14 participants, mostly from the ACCI and its sectors, such as the Afghan Gemstone Trader Association, the Afghani Exporter Association and the Afghan Women’s Business Federation.
The workshop aims to equip participants to play their role within their institutions, with specific attention to good governance, including: transparency; accountability; democratic processes; organizational management; human resources management; lobbying and advocacy; increasing membership; and providing quality services to their affiliates.