| ||UNAMA urges purchase of Afghan products|
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KABUL - The UN mission has once again urged procurement officials from the international community to buy locally-produced products to boost Afghanistan's growing private-sector economy.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Peace Dividend Trust, at a meeting attended by representatives from ISAF, embassies and aid agencies, introduced them to the flagship Afghanistan Building Markets website (www.afghanistan.buildingmarkets.org).
Through the website, UNAMA said in a press statement, procurements officials could identify their needs, gather more information on sellers and then place orders.
The meeting was a follow-up to the Local Procurement Conference and Trade Fair, organised in Kabul last month, to bring together the international community and more than 100 Afghan firms and business leaders from a wide range of industries.
Speaking on the session, Special Advisor to Special Representative of Secretary-General Mark Ward emphasised the importance of encouraging local business.
"One of the best antidotes to the insurgency is job creation," he argued. "Promoting Afghan industry will help increase tax revenues and build the private sector's capacity to employ youth."
He added: "The reason we have launched this initiative is that we're not doing enough to support the private sector. Today's focus is to talk to the people who have the authority to buy."
Minister of Commerce and Industry Wahidullah Shahrani, who also attended the session, hoped the initiative would encourage international organisations and embassies to use Afghan products.
"It will help us to have access to more revenue, build capacity of Afghan companies, and it is important for the sustainable economic development of the country," the minister observed,
On 10 June 2009, UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide challenged the international community, including the United Nations, to increase the value of local procurement by 10 per cent within a year.