A One-Stop Success for Afghanistan.

29

steps involved in customs process before ATAR intervened

10

steps involved in customs process with the one-stop shop

Recognizing that this tedious process was a trade barrier, ATAR partnered with the Afghan Customs Department to design a streamlined export process map. Through this collaboration, they reduced the number of steps by more than 50 percent — from 29 to only 10.

After improving the export process, ATAR and its partners moved to the next stage: setting up a single office where traders could get all of their customs paperwork and approvals. HKIA in Kabul was a natural choice; after all, 50 percent of Afghanistan’s exports by value go out from Kabul Airport. In early 2017, ATAR specialists collaborated with HKIA, the Afghanistan Customs Department, and the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority to create the one-stop shop.

In June 2017, ATAR and the Afghanistan Customs Department developed a detailed action plan to construct and run the one-stop shop at HKIA. They brought engineers together with HKIA customs staff to construct the office and install IT equipment, software programs, and other necessary tools to track declarations, documents, and approvals. After constructing the one-stop shop, ATAR developed a targeted one-week training for staff in January 2018.

This single office would eliminate multiple checkpoints and include a consolidation warehouse to hold the pre-customs declaration. When designing the one-stop shop, ATAR also suggested setting up pre-booking, which could give customs and airlines advance information about the shipments. Most importantly, though, traders would have a single simplified process to get all the approvals they needed in a single location.

“Making the job of the exporter easier to get his product out of the country and get a good price overseas, that’s good for everyone,” explained Steve Irwin, ATAR aviation expert. “Anything you can do to expedite a process, to streamline it, to minimize the impacts of corruption, that’s a good thing.”

These efforts weren’t limited to the Kabul area, though. Project staff also visited Kandahar International Airport, Herat International Airport, and Mazar-e-Sharif International Airport to gauge how to construct similar offices at those sites and further drive up exports.

"Making the job of the exporter easier to get his product out of the country and get a good price overseas, that’s good for everyone. Anything you can do to expedite a process, to streamline it, to minimize the impacts of corruption, that's a good thing."

Steve Irwin, ATAR aviation expert

“Before the one-stop shop, we went to different ministries to solve all of the problems. But fortunately after that, we got the one-stop shop here and we’re very happy with it because we can solve all of the problems under one roof.”

Asadullah Aka, president of Riyan Kabul International Company Limited

On January 25, 2018, the one-stop shop at HKIA officially opened. The event brought together Afghanistan’s public and private sector, as well as U.S. representatives, to cut the ribbon and recognize the moment as a milestone in the country’s story as an exporter.

“The Office of the Chief Executive is pleased and proud that you have taken initial steps — represented by the opening of this one-stop shop — to remove barriers to trade and make it easier for exporters to access foreign markets,” announced National Unity Government CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

John Bass, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, echoed these sentiments: “The U.S. believes that the steps taken today will not only generate income and opportunities for Afghan businesses, and employment for Afghans, but it will give the world a different vision of Afghanistan and its future.”

Traders in Afghanistan are already starting to see the difference in how they conduct business.

“Before the one-stop shop, we went to different ministries to solve all of the problems,” Asadullah Aka, president of the Riyan Kabul International Company Limited, reflected. “But fortunately after that, we got the one-stop shop here and we’re very happy with it because we can solve all of the problems under one roof.”