8 Jan 2007

PR# 2007-024

ISAF invests in local economy

KABUL, Afghanistan – HQ ISAF, acting in support of the Afghan First Programme, has been placing increasing amounts of orders and contracts with Afghan businesses, in order to assist the growing Afghan economy.

The Afghan First Programme forms part of ISAF’s intent ‘to assist in the Government’s economic development strategy so as to enable Afghanistan to become increasingly self sufficient’. The programme does not restrict itself to just spending money on the economy, but has taken a wider view of the issues involved and ISAF has initiated a number of initiatives to support efforts concerning corruption, business education and the protection of small businesses.

In 2006 ISAF spent US $31.5 million on the local economy, which represents an increase of over 400% from 2005. The award of contracts to local firms and businesses continues to grow, with the ISAF Finance Branch diligently managing the needs of ISAF whilst ensuring ‘value for money’ to NATO.

Contracts and services being used by HQ ISAF in Kabul are varied. Paper for the headquarters is being bought locally in a contract worth 64,000 Euros and over US $18 million has been spent on printing and publishing. It is estimated that a further US $8.5 million has been spent from other NATO sources in general construction, morale and welfare activities and services and purchases by the soldiers from local retailers. In the near future plans to purchase locally bottled water, carbonated drinks and vegetables for the headquarters should all be agreed.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Barnett, who has been the focus for the Afghan First Programme in HQ ISAF remains really passionate about the scheme. “By dealing directly with the local Afghans we inject money into the economy from the bottom up, thereby making a difference at the lowest level. There are plenty of good businesses out there who need to be making themselves known and begin competing for NATO / ISAF contracts”.

HQ ISAF Finance Branch works closely with the Peace Dividend Trust, a non profit making foundation registered in the UK and Canada, which promotes the growth of profit making enterprises in post conflict economies, to identify Afghan companies that may be used as suppliers of goods and services. By developing this relationship, ISAF is able to advertise future tenders to a wider market in Dari and Pashtu and thus encourage healthy competition.

The investment in the local economy is not limited to HQ ISAF in Kabul. Across Afghanistan ISAF forces are committed to supporting the economy and increasing amounts of NATO / ISAF funds and contracts are being placed with Afghan businesses.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/