Business Women

Female entrepreneurs highlight market challenges at Afghanistan-Iran exhibition

Female entrepreneurs voiced their concerns about the lack of a viable market for their products during a joint Afghanistan-Iran exhibition. They emphasized the need for more exhibitions to enhance market opportunities for their offerings.

The exhibition, hosted at the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, featured around 30 entrepreneurs showcasing Iranian products. It also provided a platform for female entrepreneurs to display their handmade items. Participants from Afghanistan’s remote provinces underscored the importance of the event for their products’ visibility.

“I am from Badakhshan and traveled to Kabul. I invested thousands of AFN here and, thankfully, received a warm welcome from the public, selling many products,” said Shiba Tahiri, a merchant.

Reportedly, half of the stalls were operated by women who have been denied education by the Taliban. “I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering but had to stop attending university. So, I began a small business with my sister selling handmade products. This is my first exhibition, and the experience has been positive,” shared Hamira, a former student.

Sana, another participant, turned to entrepreneurship after being prohibited from attending school. “After my education was cut short, I started making Achar (a traditional pickle) with an initial investment of 3,000 AFN and have since developed a successful business,” she explained.

The three-day event, which began on Friday, is seen as a beneficial opportunity for Iranian vendors to enter the Afghan market. “This inaugural joint exhibition for Afghans and Iranians in Afghanistan has opened up a great market for us. The Afghan people’s reception of Iranian products has been very encouraging,” said Mohammad Ali Madadi, an Iranian merchant.

Another Iranian seller, Hamid Kalal Rustaqi, expressed hopes of attracting more investment, despite the impressive turnout. “The crowd was remarkable, but we anticipated more trade experts would attend,” he noted.

While trade between Afghanistan and Iran has increased, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Investment reported that Afghanistan’s exports to Iran are at their lowest level.