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Kabul, 12 December 2006
- More than 200 university students and business and government representatives in Afghanistan recently graduated from a business training program established through a partnership between the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and Kabul University.
The project, managed by IFC’s regional technical assistance facility, the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa, aims to build the capacity of Kabul University, which has not offered business education since 1979.
“This has been one of the most successful programs at our university,” said Chancellor Abdul Hai Nazifi, head of Kabul University. “It is also a best practice for international cooperation. We look forward to working with IFC to produce more such examples of good practice.”
Some 110 senior-year economics students, 120 local business owners and workers, and 30 representatives from the government participated in series of training courses, from January to November 2006. In addition, 16 instructors received extensive training to provide further business capacity building in the country.
Mary Porter Peschka, IFC’s Senior Operations Manager for Small and Medium Enternprise Development in the Middle East and North Africa, said, “This is one of IFC’s first technical assistance initiatives in Afghanistan. We introduced basic business skills that will help more Afghans take advantage of opportunities as the country rebuilds.”
Lack of resources and qualified staff have made it very difficult for Afghanistan’s schools and universities to provide their graduates with the basic tools necessary to make it in the job world, much less succeed with their own private businesses.
“This course has given me confidence,” said Lora Hares, one of the female trainees who made up 15 percent of the program’s participants. Despite the challenges that women in Afghanistan face in doing business, Lora asserts, “I want to run a computer training business.”
The faculty in Kabul now has comprehensive business training material that draws on IFC’s toolkit for small and medium enterprises and its Business Edge international management training products. The material includes a workbook for business planning and presentations in English and the national languages, Dari and Pashto. There is also a Web site for the program that allows participants to interact and search for employment opportunities. For more information, visit
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit
IFC’s PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. The facility was launched in October 2004 as part of the G8 Broader Middle East initiative. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatizations and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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