The Landell-Mills-managed, Afghanistan Business Innovation Fund (ABIF), has been selected as a finalist in the 2016 British Expertise International Awards. The project has been shortlisted for both the Outstanding International Development in a Fragile State and Outstanding Development Project categories.
The DFID-funded project, contributed to poverty reduction in Afghanistan through pro-poor market development, driven by private sector investment. It worked through a competitive grant mechanism, collaborating with entrepreneurs to develop commercially viable investments, and support their implementation.
As a British Expertise Award finalist, Landell Mills is proud to sit alongside some of the most highly respected UK professional services companies working internationally. The award winners will be announced at a celebration dinner in April.
About ABIF: Harnessing private sector investment to drive development in Afghanistan
Designing and implementing a private sector challenge fund in Afghanistan, with its underdeveloped industrial and agricultural sectors, weak capital markets and low human capacity, was always going to be difficult. However, ABIF has proved it is possible, highlighting the resilience of the Afghan private sector.
ABIF recognised that entrepreneurs can be drivers of change due to their clear commercial interest in business models, production technologies and product quality standardisation. Rather than considering private sector actors as aid recipients, ABIF collaborated with them to integrate both commercial and development interests. ABIF’s approach has led to sustainable economic development by providing a financial return to grant recipients, while also leading to poverty reduction at scale.
ABIF’s innovative design incentivised benefits for poor workers, producers and consumers as well as for entrepreneurs who create jobs, products and services. ABIF pushed primary ownership of project implementation to entrepreneurs through milestone incentives based on financial targets.
Throughout the course of the project to date, grants of £3 million have incentivised private sector investment of £7.6 million and provided direct benefits to 250,000 workers, producers and consumers across Afghanistan. The results speak for themselves, proving that the private sector can drive development in Afghanistan.
ABIF projects online:
- A cotton yarn factory to improve the quality of Afghan carpets, providing jobs for over 300 women: www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/afghan-cotton-for-afghan-carpets
- Afghanistan’s first chain of branded pharmacies providing guaranteed genuine products: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30094402?ocid=socialflow_twitter
- Foreign direct investment into the cashmere sector by a British company, CFI: www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3074436/Afghanistans-goat-farmers-luxury-niche-cashmere