LONDON: Afghana Foundation and British Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BACCI) in collaboration with the Euro – Afghan Chamber of Commerce (EACC), Afghan Business Association UK and SMEs in Afghanistan have launched the Buy From Afghanistan Online Shop to serve increasing customer demand from across Europe. 

The Buy From Afghanistan program was initially launched by BACCI to promote Afghan craftsmanship, manufacturing and wholesale exports to Europe and America.

It aims to mobilise European citizens including European Afghans to play their role in rebuilding Afghanistan through promotion and purchase of Afghan products at a time when aid money from Europe has failed to deliver results and filled the pockets of corrupt officials compromising Afghanistan’s stability and increasing resentment against donor nations in Europe.

The program has been a great success and it has seen a huge demand from individual buyers wishing to have access to products being sold through the program.

As a gesture of goodwill, the leadership of BACCI and EACC decided to launch an online Etsy shop to cater for European buyers mainly from United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scandinavian countries.

The online shop will list limited edition products and will act as a pilot for the much bigger online marketplace that is currently being planned to serve the entire western world.

Speaking to Afghanistan Business Magazine, the program lead Farhad Hotak said “The Buy From Afghanistan program has been a great success. It is probably the biggest program of its kind in Europe. We have bases and partners across UK and Europe, and we have succeeded in promoting Afghan products and giving it a direct access to the European market.”

He added “Initially we were focused on big wholesale deals only. But we have seen an unprecedented demand from individual buyers who like our products and want to buy. So the leadership has decided to trial the online shop to establish a sale channel directly with the end buyers.”

He also said “BACCI is a business and entrepreneurs led organisation. We believe to create jobs and build a dignified Afghanistan, which is self dependent. The best way is through trade not donations, and we are making sure we play our role in making trade happen.”

The Buy From Afghanistan is a socially responsible nonprofit initiative led by voluntary private sector leaders working with artisan entrepreneurs to empower people and rebuild communities through craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and trade.

The aim is to create conflict sensitive jobs and help scale the cottage industry manufacturing in the country, which employs millions of people, rebuilding Afghanistan with trade not aid.

Products are mainly sourced from women artisans, widows and extremely disadvantaged minority communities. And profits pumped back into the project to grow.