NATO Afghan First Policy
Supporting Afghan Economic Development
1. Recognising the crucial link between maintaining stability and delivering development aid to Afghanistan, the NATO Heads of State and Government (HOSG) adopted at the Bucharest Summit “a comprehensive approach across security, governance and development efforts and between all local and international partners” in order to support Afghanistan’s transition from conflict to stability, reconstruction and sustainable development. NATO HOSG also set out the growth of Afghanistan’s licit economy as one of the strategic desired outcomes.
2. In implementation of this approach, the NATO Afghan First Policy is developed by the NATO Economic Committee in coordination with the NATO Senior Resource Board, following an agreement by NATO Foreign Ministers in December 2009, to maximise, to the extent possible, the positive impact of ISAF presence in Afghanistan. It aims at strengthening NATO’s contribution to the development of the Afghan economy by increasing local procurement of goods and services whenever the acceptable standards for security, quality, price and reliable supply are met; including the use of Afghan contractors and the employment of Afghan labour for works and jobs in Afghanistan.
Benefits of Procuring Afghan Goods and Services
3. Increasing local procurement in Afghanistan is considered the most important step in promoting the development of the Afghan private sector and supporting the economic development of the country. The analysis undertaken by NATO demonstrates that purchasing local goods and services has the potential to create an economic stimulus for Afghanistan.
4. Together, the expenditures of NATO and ISAF Contributing Nations in support of ISAF activities are significant. By reorienting resources towards the Afghan economy, ISAF has the potential to enhance Afghan economic development. While the top priority for all NATO procurement for operations is to ensure efficient, effective missions and the security of the civilian and military personnel, experiences demonstrate that making the maximum use of local goods and services is advantageous for Afghanistan and ISAF Contributing Nations.
5. Procuring goods and services from Afghan companies promotes sustainable economic development by creating jobs, building economic capacities, developing the private and banking sectors, encouraging the development of infrastructure and generating tax revenue to support the delivery of services to the people of Afghanistan. Afghan firms know the market and can often provide quality goods and services at competitive prices. With a shorter supply chain, local procurement is often the best way for the buyer to maximize value and the timely delivery of needed goods and services. Increased local procurement allows local businesses to grow, gain experience, and generate jobs in the industrial, commercial, service and agricultural sectors.
Procuring Afghan Goods and Services Using NATO Common Funds
6. The Afghan First Policy and the proposed practical steps, set out below, are aimed at strengthening NATO’s contribution to the economic development of Afghanistan and provides for fair and equal opportunities for Afghan companies and employees through the following measures:
6.1. Allowing for Afghan participation in the NATO procurement process, wherever possible, without requiring ad hoc decisions on waivers.
6.2. Increasing local procurement of goods and services that originate in Afghanistan whenever the acceptable standards for security, quality, price and reliable supply are met; making a clear preference in statements of work for local Afghan content, including the use of Afghan contractors and the employment of Afghan labour for works and jobs in Afghanistan.
6.3. Local procurement should not be hindered by procedural obstacles, but should be actively encouraged at all levels. All relevant stakeholders and NATO bodies are encouraged to consider adjustments to their practices according to the following practical recommendations to maximise, to the extent possible, the positive impact of NATO/ISAF presence and support the development of the Afghan economy.
6.4. Supporting local businesses by taking into consideration the specific requirements of Afghan companies and facilitating, to the extent possible, the participation of local Afghan businesses in competition for NATO procurement contracts, taking into account value for money.
6.5. In order to achieve a clearer picture on local procurement, develop reporting procedures regarding the number and value of contracts with local companies; prime contractors should be contractually obliged to report on local procurement of goods and services as well as subcontracting to local companies.
7. In addition, a number of practical steps will need to be taken to further facilitate Afghan participation in local procurement. These include:
7.1. improving pre-deployment preparations for personnel responsible for contracting and procurement, including increasing information about the local marketplace and its capabilities;
7.2. seeking out qualified and capable Afghan firms and sharing information with other contracting authorities;
7.3. working with Afghan authorities to qualify local companies as technically, financially and professionally capable and certify their country of origin;
7.4. simplifying bidding and contracting documents, providing translations where necessary and reducing the size of contracts; 7.5. enhancing measures to reduce the risks of corruption; and
7.6. supporting the development of Afghan skills through promoting training and mentoring activities currently provided by the International Community to local companies and employees.