UN says Afghan women entrepreneurs face a range of obstacles.

Deep discrimination, operational constraints and a weak economic system have forced 41 percent of the more than 3,000 women interviewed to "borrow."

But only 5% of women have been able to obtain loans from banks or small financial institutions, the report added.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has said that restrictions imposed by the Taliban on women's movement have exacerbated challenges for these women.

According to the agency, 73 percent of women interviewed said they could not even travel to local markets without a male Moharam.

In its report, the United Nations Development Program also said the employment rate for women in Afghanistan fell by half last year to six percent.

Despite facing major challenges, women-led jobs "continue to show considerable resilience and serve as vital pillars of economic stability and hope amid adversity," the body added.

Entrepreneurship has emerged as a "lifeline" for women and their families, and 80 percent of women-led companies rely on business income as a major source of income.

The United Nations Development Program has said that women-led jobs create "much-needed" job opportunities for other women.

"Women entrepreneurs have shown incredible courage, boldness and contrivance in the most difficult circumstances," said Connie Vignararaja, regional director of the United Nations Development Program for Asia and the Pacific.

He added that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and its partners have supported 75,000 small and small businesses in Afghanistan, providing jobs for 900,000 people.

UNDP said it supports Afghan women entrepreneurs through direct access to financial resources and education in financial literacy, digitalisation of business operations and payments, marketing and product development, cash for work, mental health and support women's access to domestic and international markets.

Stephen Rodriguez, UNDP's representative for Afghanistan, said Afghan women have long been a driving force and well-being for families and play an important role in maintaining local economies.

The director of the UN's Asia and Pacific region thanked the EU and Japan for their contributions to women entrepreneurs and added that by supporting these women, we can expand access across Afghanistan and improve prospects for women entrepreneurs.

The Taliban have imposed widespread restrictions on women's presence and activism in society since re-establishing their grip on Afghanistan.

The group blocks many women-led businesses, including barbershops, and does not allow women to travel without a male companion.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) says in a new report that women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan face a wide range of barriers and high business costs. The agency released its report on the status of Afghan women entrepreneurs entitled "Listening to Afghan Women Entrepreneurs: Their Struggle and Resilience." The report is based on interviews, discussions, and a quantitative survey with about 3,300 women entrepreneurs in the last three years, it has been recently produced.

Ahmad Shaker Sangi


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