Kauffman Foundation News (2/28/11): State of Afghan’s Private Enterprise Assessed in Second Paper in Kauffman Expeditionary Economics Research Series

Kauffman Paper Explores Condition of Afghan Entrepreneurship and Provides Recommendations for Supporting Private Sector Growth

In the second paper of the Kauffman Foundation’s Expeditionary Economics Research Series, authors Jake Cusack and Erik Malmstrom demonstrate that despite decades of conflict, corruption, and insecurity, Afghanistan has unrecognized and untapped economic potential in its private sector. “Bactrian Gold: Challenges and Hope for Private-Sector Development in Afghanistan” was released this week following a presentation of the findings at a conference on expeditionary economics at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

Veteran military officers and current Harvard graduate students, Cusack and Malmstrom interviewed more than 130 business owners and economic stakeholders across Afghanistan, traveling without security or organizational affiliation to better understand the Afghan people’s perspectives. The resulting report details obstacles facing private Afghan businesses and would-be entrepreneurs; explores ways Afghan business leaders have adapted to these challenges; analyzes key market sectors and their benefits and drawbacks for entrepreneurs; and provides recommendations for how the Afghan government and international stakeholders can best support private-sector economic growth in Afghanistan.