United States Working with Pakistan and Afghanistan to Expand Women’s Participation in Economy: Ambassador Richard Olson

In his address at the closing ceremony of the first annual Afghanistan and Pakistan Women’s Business Conference in Islamabad, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson said, “Women’s economic empowerment is vital to the development of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the United States is working with both neighboring countries to expand women’s participation in the economy through entrepreneurship, employment opportunities and education.”

The four-day conference, organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), in partnership with USAID, the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, and the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, aims to strengthen the competitiveness of Afghan and Pakistani business women.

Ambassador Olson reiterated in his address to participants and organizers that the U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Memorandum of Understanding on Women’s Economic Empowerment, signed with the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, will enable both countries to increase cross-border trade and investment and ensure more women’s participation in the economy.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) led a series of discussions with participants covering a wide range of topics including regulatory issues in Afghanistan-Pakistan cross-border trade, business financing, business-to-business networking, and cyber training. Leading business women from Afghanistan and Pakistan came together to discuss legal and regulatory issues important to women-led small and medium enterprises active in international commerce and had the opportunity to network and form cross-border business-to-business relationships.