CAREC Institute Hosts Successful Webinar on Resilience of Middle Class in Afghanistan

26 Feb 2024

On February 20, the CAREC Institute hosted its Chai VIII dialogue on the role of the middle class in economic development and overcoming specific socioeconomic challenges in Afghanistan. The event was organized in collaboration with the CAREC Secretariat, the Asian Development Bank and the Biruni Institute (Afghanistan). The dialogue provided valuable insights for policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders seeking to understand and support the middle class in Afghanistan.

Mr. Kabir Jurazoda, Director of the CAREC Institute, welcomed the participants of Chai dialogue by noting the important position of Afghanistan in the CAREC connectivity and trade. “Today we have a clear goal: to provide a united platform for open dialogue, insightful perspectives, and collaborative solutions. Through dialogue and discussion, we aim to shed light on the pressing issues faced by the middle class, understand impactful strategies for building resilience, and promote long-term economic and social well-being in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Kabir Jurazoda in his welcoming speech.

Dr. Lyaziza Sabyrova, Regional Head for Regional Cooperation and Integration at the ADB Central and West Asia Department, mentioned that the middle class in Kabul is barely surviving under existing political, economic and social challenges. She highlighted the negative impact of restrictions on education and employment of females, particularly affecting women-led businesses in Afghanistan. “A shift to promote livelihood, economic activities, and income-generating employment in Afghanistan is crucial,” stated Dr. Lyaziza Sabyrova.

The keynote presentation of key findings from research on the socioeconomic challenges faced by the middle class in Kabul was provided by Dr. Lutfi Rahimi, Head of Research at the Biruni Institute (Afghanistan). Dr. Lutfi Rahimi presented economic indicators on employment, consumption, saving patterns, and coping strategies of the middle class in Kabul. Additionally, he mentioned the vulnerabilities of the urban middle class compared to rural populations and the importance of understanding their resilience in the face of economic and social challenges. He emphasized that the shift is needed to promote livelihood, economic activities, and income-generating employment in Afghanistan.

The panel discussion session featured insightful perspectives from regional experts, including Mr. Ayoob Ayoobi, Ms. Patricia Mclaughlin, Mr. Artur Andrysiak and Mr. Hans Holzhacker, who shared their expertise on the current economic situation in Afghanistan and provided valuable policy recommendations to address the challenges faced by the middle class. Overall, the event highlighted the complex socioeconomic dynamics in Afghanistan and the importance of understanding and supporting the middle class in navigating these challenges.

The event emphasized the importance of collaboration and knowledge exchange in making informed decisions related to the country’s development. The CAREC Institute remains committed to serving as a knowledge hub for promoting dialogue, collaboration, and innovative solutions for the challenges facing Afghanistan and the wider region.

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