Famous for its ancient Buddha statues which were tragically destroyed in 2001 and the Band-e-Amir National Park with its turquoise blue lakes, Bamiyan has been chosen as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) cultural capital for 2015.
To celebrate this achievement, dozens of colourful cultural events including exhibitions, music shows, workshops and festivals took place in June. They were attended by many government officials, foreign dignitaries and visitors, as well as people from across Afghanistan.
Exhibitions from AREDP included enterprises from Parwan, Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar and Bamyan provinces and showcased rural products in order to find new customers and increase sales. Products displayed included handicrafts, textiles, jewellery, saffron, honey and carpets.
Haji Mirwali one of the entrepreneurs from Nangarhar province participating in the event said:
This was a wonderful exhibition and I was able to sell all my products and show Afghan potential to foreign visitors. In addition, I got a big order from a client in Bamiyan. Creating market linkages for enterprises at the national and international level is a key part of AREDP’s work.
Over the last five years, AREDP has been helping to promote Afghan produce, organising 58 national and international exhibitions involving hundreds of different enterprises.
AREDP has also been supporting Afghan businesses to develop capacity and improve product quality. AREDP is funded through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), to which the UK is a key donor.