Bicycle Shop Owner Runs Brisk Business


May 21, 2004

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    Obaidulhah took a micro-loan of 7500 Afghani ($140 USD) to take advantage of Kabul's booming bicycle market. Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps Photo:

Name: Obaidulhah Habbibullah
Age: 48 years

Location: Charqala Wazirbad, District 10, Kabul (Afghanistan)

The fall of the Taliban regime and wave of returning to refugees back to Kabul has brought a surge of new customers to Obaidulhah’s little ramshackle bicycle shop in Kabul.

“For fifteen years I have had this shop, making about 200 Afghani ($4 USD) per week,” says Obaidulhah. “But in the past year my weekly profit has increased almost ten-fold, to about 2000 Afghani ($40 USD).”

To take advantage of the growing business opportunity, Obaidulhah took a micro-loan of 7500 Afghani ($140 USD) from Mercy Corps’ micro-credit program.

“I needed to import more spare parts to keep in stock for regular repairs,” says Obaidulhah. “When people come to get their bikes fixed it must be done immediately. Customers won’t wait for me to locate spare parts. They need to get their bicycle back in a couple hours or they will go to someone else.”

His loan must be fully repaid within eight months, but with business booming and profits increasing, Obaidulhah isn’t worried about his repayment schedule.

“This first loan is helping me to compete with other bicycle shops that had a better supply of parts before,” says Obaidulhah. “Once I repay this loan I would like to take a larger loan to start importing new bikes for sale.”