Over the past decade, Afghanistan has made tremendous progress in reconstruction, development and lifting the per capita income. However, the country has a long way ahead to totally embed itself in the global economy and become a proactive member-state, rather than an aid-dependent one. Despite the numerous initiatives and reforms undertaken by the present government and its predecessors to save its troubled economy, Afghanistan is one of the 47 least developed countries according to UN classification. One important, yet little-known, reason for its failure is its inability to align the country’s business workdays with international markets in the world. For this reason, it is losing out on precious economic opportunities that harmonise activities with its international counterparts. Afghanistan has designated Thursday and Friday as the weekend, whereas many other countries, including its neighbours and western countries, observe Saturday and Sunday as their official weekend days. It means Afghanistan’s businesses have only three working days overlapping with other countries, which can be considered a major barrier towards their progress. Friday remains a holiday in Muslim countries, as it’s a holy day set aside for communal prayer. But by including Thursday as part of the weekend, the country is losing around 52 days in a year, leaving only 157 days in a year to do business with the international community. Although there have been efforts by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Labour and Social affairs, as well as other business communities to shift the weekend to Friday and Saturday, each time the government did not give its approval. The reason being that non-Muslim countries — primarily Jewish ones — observe their weekend on Saturday and as a Muslim country, Afghanistan should not. However, it should be noted that Islam does not prohibit Muslims from taking Saturday off, or having the same weekend as Jews and Christians. It should be highlighted that many Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Turkey, etc, observe Saturday as their weekend holiday. We can also look at another Muslim country, Saudi Arabia, which consistently is in the news for its strict religious rules, but has switched to a Friday-Saturday weekend. These countries quickly recognised the negative consequences of having out-of-sync business days with their international financial markets, and aimed to close the communication gap. I have personally spoken to multiple professionals working at different public and private organisations who share similar concerns. One of my contacts at the Ministry of Finance commented, “The three-day open window with international counterparts result in delays and missed deadlines, and sometimes results in working extra hours”. By including Thursday as part of the weekend, Afghanistan is losing 52 days a year, leaving only 157 working days to do business with the international community Another colleague working at one of Afghanistan’s mission abroad added that, “Afghanistan’s missions abroad work on the basis of host countries’ calendars, so if there is an important transaction which the mission abroad needs on Wednesday evening or Thursday from Afghanistan, it has to wait until Monday, losing four days in between.” Moreover, few private companies, as well as, NGO’s in Afghanistan observe Friday-Saturday as their weekend, which again results in other businesses within the country being out of sync with one another. It should also be noted that majority of Afghanistan’s exports are to countries having Saturday and Sunday weekend, so from an economic standpoint, it should align its workweek with the rest of the world. In today’s fast-paced world, the scale and scope of flow in information, goods and ideas, as well as, the value that higher interaction has generated, indicate that there are many opportunities to create and grow wealth than ever before. The nations that are successful are those who were able to adapt themselves to this new architecture and outstrip traditional barriers to economics. We can’t see the present with our traditional lens. Instead, to gain an understanding of such progress against the backdrop of globalisation, we have to depart from our past and adjust to global rhythms and processes in an interdependent world. Those who argue against this change should try to estimate the cost of lost opportunities, and evaluate the price our economy has to pay for such decisions. We have to strive to realise our collective ideals by passing the test of coherence with the global community. Creating a flexible mental model, along with collective problem-solving attitudes, will ensure we are integrated in the global circuit of prosperity. Given the overwhelming issues and supporting information, Afghanistan should move its official weekend from Thursday and Friday, to Friday and Saturday, to help improve business relations with other states. The writer works at the Office of Senior Advisor to President of Afghanistan on International trade as an ‘export promotion expert’ Published in Daily Times, July 24th 2018.