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Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises


Across all activities, the program fostered business innovation, expanded the role of women and youth in business, and emphasized economic growth that benefited the poor.

ABADE provided capital to existing SMEs through a competitive application process. Businesses were required to invest at least twice the amount of USAID’s contribution (but the average was much higher—6:1). ABADE partnered with a manufacturer of hospital equipment to invest in a medical-grade cotton production line.

To stimulate innovation, the program provided capital for new business ideas, also through a competitive application process. The Afghan business had to invest an amount at least equal to ABADE’s contribution. The program invested in a woman-owned vermiculture business (rich, high-quality compost made by worms)—the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

In addition to capital investment, ABADE delivered technical and business advice to its SME partners and other businesses in areas of accounting, marketing, quality standards, and more.

Working with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to improve Afghanistan’s business environment, ABADE identified and addressed policies and regulations that impact competition.


The Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises Program (ABADE) strengthened private businesses to grow the economy and create jobs. ABADE, which means “to develop” in Dari, partnered with Afghan-owned small and medium enterprises to invest in upgrading their equipment or adopting new technologies to modernize or expand production. These investment partnerships leveraged almost $300 million in private investment.


  • 298 SME and innovation alliances formed
  • $293 million in private sector investments created
  • 245% increase in sales at investment partner businesses
  • 6 business constraints addressed
  • 17,777 full-time equivalent jobs created

Program details

Funder: USAID through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance

Project duration: 2012 to 2017

Award: $105 million


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