Since 2010, the American Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan has established itself as a pioneer for the economic development of the private sector in Afghanistan for American and international investors, businesses, and organizations. The AmCham/Af consists of nine board members representing an array of industries. The membership of AmCham/Af includes companies from the mining, information technology, construction, logistics, wholesale, web design, financial, and legal industries plus many more. In addition, 2015 was a critical transition year where the AmCham/Af’s executive director, Soraya Ahmadyar , was succeeded by Thomas Muenzberg in August 2015.
Afghanistan’s economic situation continued to remain slow in the first half of 2015. This was a particularly challenging year on the political front, where Afghanistan experienced a divided and stagnant unity government between President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and CEO Abdullah Abdullah. The National unity government struggled to deliver on anticipated reforms depressing investor and consumer confidence and causing serious concerns from the private sector and potential investors from abroad, foreign direct investment declined by 30% in the first half of the year, according to the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency and a business tendency survey released in August by the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry indicated that business conditions deteriorated substantially from January to June 2015.
Despite the troubling news the AmCham/Af members held steadfast through the political uncertainty and pressed forward, attempting to bring new interest and optimism to a country known for its abruptly changing economic and political climate.
The AmCham/Af continues to push forward as the accreditation application remains under review with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquartered in Washington D.C. The new Executive Director met with the U.S. Chamber in Washington D.C. where they reiterated support for the AmCham/Af’s presence in Afghanistan and vowed to continue their monitoring of Afghanistan’s political, economic, and social reforms. AmCham/Af is working to expand its network of contacts and encourage collaboration and information exchange with other regional centers and promote economic development on all levels.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors routinely meets every month to discuss critical actions to be taken as a chamber. Key officer positions were maintained in 2015, with the addition of the position of treasurer, to help manage the financial decisions of the chamber. Board members are vital to supporting the chamber’s mission and vision by constantly seeking out potential new members, encouraging business interests and investments in Afghanistan, organizing events around critical topics of interest for businesses, and providing their own first-hand experience of operating on a daily basis in Afghanistan.