Businessman Sees Profits Soar

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Improving the condition of the sidewalks has helped local businesses

For years, businessmen throughout Kandahar have lamented the poor condition of their sidewalks. For many businesses, foot traffic is the primary way to connect with customers. But if the shop entrance is mud and dirt, customers will not go in.

Mera Jaddin has been selling cell phones and accessories for many years. “I started this business because everyone likes cell phones,” he shared. However, he was losing money because of the poor condition of the sidewalks. “My colleagues said I’d never succeed because it was dirty in front of my business,” he said.

In the spring of 2011, Mera heard that the Kandahar Municipality had requested Central Asia Development Group (CADG) to implement a USAID-funded project to rehabilitate a 15 km stretch of sidewalk, a section which is located directly in front of his business.

Before the project started, Mera’s sales were barely enough from him to make a living. After the work was completed in front of his store, his sales jumped 350 percent. Mera credits the cleanliness in front of his business for the increase. “This project has saved my business. Before, most people would pass by my shop, but now I’m busy all day,” he proclaimed.

Mera and his neighboring business owners applaud the work of the municipality. They know that without this important infrastructure project, most of them would have seen their businesses continue to falter. “This is really a successful project for our our city and our people,” he said. “I hope the municipality continues to rebuild our city with projects like this.”

Through USAID projects, Afghans are able to improve their quality of life and earn a steady income. USAID continues to develop the economy across Afghanistan by assisting local government structures to respond to community needs.