Afghan women entrepreneurs look to India for opportunities

Rama Lakshmi
Saturday, 30-June-2012

 

They run fleets of trucks, supply construction material, design software programs and make furniture. Women entrepreneurs in war-torn Afghanistan have been breaking many cultural ceilings in the past decade.

But now, many of them are anxious to find new clients as they prepare for the 2014 drawdown when they may lose their biggest client – the U.S. military bases. And India’s vast and lucrative market is their next frontier.

“It will be a big challenge once the Americans and the others leave. The local market in Afghanistan has not progressed much,” said Masuma Rezaie, 24-year-old founder of the evocatively named company First Afghan Lady Logistics and Services. “But there is big money in the Indian market.”

To this end, Rezaie and other businesswomen came to New Delhi on Wednesday to seek deals, training and technology from Indian companies. The three-day business-to-business meetings, facilitated by USAID and the Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of India, comes at a time when the impending withdrawal of the international forces from Afghanistan is also raising concerns about the future of women’s rights to study and work.

Rezaie’s company supplies security equipment, furniture, potable water, generators, construction machinery and laborers to the international military camps and humanitarian groups across Afghanistan.

The war and rebuilding of the nation has birthed many Rosie-the-Riveters in Kabul, who are going beyond handicrafts and textiles. One company is called “Courageous Afghan Women Construction Company & Logistical Services.”

“The Taliban attacked my trucks twice,” Rezaie said. “But not because I am a woman, but because I am doing business with Americans.” She runs an all-women office in Kabul. “We keep the women in the offices to do the brain work, and send the men into the field.”

The organizers hoped business deals will be struck over the next three days.

Another entrepreneur, Malika Qanih, wants to learn the process of manufacturing herbal medicines from Indians.

“Afghanistan is rich in undiscovered, untapped herbs. Big business potential,” said Malika Qanih, 60, chief executive of Sun Pharma. On Friday, she will visit a factory owned by Shahnaz Husain, czarina of Indian herbal cosmetics.

Qanih hopes that Afghan women will not have to go back to the past after 2014. “Many countries have signed strategic partnerships with Afghanistan. I hope they will not forget to protect us even after 2014,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 



    

Top Stories

Black Cap Williamson banned from bowling

WELLINGTON: New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson has been banned from bowling his occasional off-spin in international cr...

Punjab govt. seeks four-month time for LB polls

ISLAMABAD: Punjab government has sought four-month time from Supreme Court (SC) for holding local bodies election in the...

Car bombings kill at least 33 people in Iraq

BAGHDAD: A new wave of car bombs ripped through commercial areas in the Iraqi capital and areas to the south Tuesday, ki...

Altaf, Zardari discuss law & order in Sindh

KARACHI: Muttahidat Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and former president and co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Pa...

White House weighs petition to deport Justin Bieber

WASHINGTON: As if Barack Obama didn't have enough problems to deal with already, his administration now is being asked t...

Sindh CNG stations reopen after 24 hours

KARACHI: CNG stations across Sindh including Karachi reopened after 24-hour closure at 8:00 AM today (Tuesday), media re...

Gas leakage blast kills 1, hurts 3 in Quetta

QUETTA: An explosion occurred at a house due to gas leakage, killing at least one person and wounding three others here ...

Ministry of CAD decisions put students,teachers & parents in a fix

Islamabad:Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) indecisive attitude put the students as well as paren...

10-year-old maid allegedly tortured to death in Lahore

LAHORE: A 10-year-old girl, who works as maid, was allegedly tortured to death in Lahore, medi reported.Sources said tha...

Five friends voluntarily embrace death: police

THATTA: Police after initial investigation claimed that five friends, who were allegedly killed in Noori Jam Tamachi, vo...

Pakistan wants good relations with all neighbouring countries: PM Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan wanted good relations with all the neighbouring countries....

IHC dismisses Musharaf’s pleas; verdict issued

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued 11-page detailed verdict over the intra-court appeal filed by f...

Pakistan to get $550m after IMF review meeting on Dec. 19

WASHINGTON: International Monetary Fund (IMF) first quarter review meeting on Pakistan’s loan programme will be held on...

Kayani thanks Corps Commanders for extending support

RAWALPINDI: The 166th Corps Commanders Conference was held at General Headquarters on Thursday.   Outgoing Chief of Ar...

3 women held captive for 30 years: UK police

LONDON: Three women have been freed after spending 30 years held captive in a south London home, including one woman be...

Iran has slowed work on atomic facilities: IAEA

NEW YORK: Iran appears to have dramatically slowed work on its atomic energy program since the summer, U.N. officials s...

Young Frenchman too heavy to fly will go home by ship

NEW YORK CITY: A young Frenchman who weighs 230 kilograms (500 pounds) and was deemed too heavy to fly on a jetliner ar...

Ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf released

ISLAMABAD: Adiala Jail authorities have formally released the country’s former military strongman General (retd) Pervez...

Bolivia coca ambush leaves 4 security force members dead

LA PAZ: A weekend ambush and hostage-taking involving police and Bolivian coca growers has left four people dead, offic...

Muslim pilgrims ritually stone devil as hajj nears end

MINA: Throngs of Muslim pilgrims took part in devil-stoning ritual for a second day Wednesday in Saudi Arabia's Mina Va...


Feature / Analysis

  • Unease in Congress, region over Afghan withdrawal plan

    WASHINGTON : Afghanistan's disputed election and Iraq's unraveling are...

    Read More »

  • Afghan girl injured by explosion paints with a prosthetic arm in L.A.

    Surrounded by a messy array of paint tubes, brushes and paper cutouts,...

    Read More »

  • Why we cannot abandon Afghanistan

    THE recent spate of suicide bombings across Afghanistan remind us that...

    Read More »

  • U.S. troops in Afghanistan sent waste to open burn pits, report finds

    Although the U.S. has spent millions to build incinerators in Afghanis...

    Read More »


Opinion

  • Afghanistan worried about safety of its airspace after Ukraine crash

    As flying over conflict zones comes under scrutiny following the downi...

    Read More »

  • A Way Forward In Afghanistan

    Afghanistan is one step closer to the first peaceful, democratic trans...

    Read More »

  • Transcript of President Karzai’s Interview with Voice of America, English Service

    VOA Reporter: Thank you very much Mr. President for your time and your...

    Read More »

  • US working with Pakistan, Afghanistan to end terrorism — Feldman

    Special representative dismisses allegations that Islamabad does not w...

    Read More »