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ADB approves $50 million grant for Afghanistan’s COVID vaccine campaign



(Last Updated On: April 20, 2021)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday approved a $50 million grant to help the Afghan government procure and deploy safe, high-quality COVID-19 vaccines, and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement its vaccine program.

The ADB said in a statement that the project will support the National Plan for COVID-19 Vaccination in Afghanistan by procuring and transporting six million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for priority segments of the population, as determined by the government.

“As Afghanistan continues to grapple with COVID-19, this project will help ensure that safe and high-quality vaccines are made available to the Afghan people,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

“Making vaccines available to vulnerable groups and strengthening Afghanistan’s immunization program will help to save lives and is a vital step toward recovery.
This support is part of ADB’s strong commitment to helping Afghanistan overcome the pandemic and achieve a sustainable economic recovery,” Asakawa said.
Under its national plan, the Afghan government aims to vaccinate all eligible people including vulnerable groups, approximately 60 percent of the total population.

ADB’s COVID-19 Vaccine Support Project will provide financing to procure vaccines for at least 2.6 million people, or about 11 percent of the eligible population, including through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX)
Advance Market Commitment facility.

The grant will also strengthen the Ministry of Public Health’s capacity in planning,
communications, coordination, and implementation of the vaccine program at national and provincial levels.

According to the ADB, technical training including specialized gender sessions will ensure that vaccines are administered to women in a culturally sensitive manner and a waste management firm will be engaged to build capacity for proper disposal of medical waste.

ADB estimates that Afghanistan’s GDP contracted by five percent in 2020 as the pandemic forced business closures and disrupted supply chains.

Unemployment is projected to have risen from 23.9 percent in 2019 to 37.9 percent in 2020 adding to the negative pressures of increased costs of food,
housing, and health services.

ADB’s grant complements other development partners’ efforts and contributes to fostering growth in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation region through addressing pandemic risks and cross-border health threats.

Afghan health officials meanwhile said Tuesday that the number of coronavirus infections has increased in Afghanistan recently.

The Ministry of Public Health said 176 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths were reported in the past 24 hours across Afghanistan.
According to the ministry 28 others recovered in the mentioned time.
The ministry warned a lockdown will be imposed in major cities including Kabul if people fail to take the necessary precautions to help curb the spread of the virus.


Afghanistan exports 150 tons of dried tomatoes to Europe



(Last Updated On: October 1, 2023)

State-owned corporation Spinzar has dispatched 150 tons of dried tomatoes in the first such consignment to Europe, officials announced Sunday.

“This is a great achievement of the Islamic Emirate which exports vegetables from Afghanistan to European countries,” Abdul Hamid Akhundzada, head of the company said as quoted in a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

Spinzar company resumed operations around a year ago after decades of closure.

It also produces and processes cotton, cottonseed oil, sesame and tissue paper.

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Members of private security meet with Kazakhstan counterparts



(Last Updated On: September 27, 2023)

A bilateral meeting between members of the private sectors of Afghanistan and Kazakhstan was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade on Tuesday with the aim of attracting more investment in the country.

At the meeting, representatives of the private sector of the two countries discussed investments in various sectors including the non-alcoholic beverages sector, gemstones stones and minerals, chemical fertilizers, car batteries, clothing and textiles, petroleum products, flour and wheat, the ministry said.

They also discussed tourism, investment in restaurant businesses and food, the ministry added.

Furthermore, the businessmen and investors of Kazakhstan thanked the Afghans for their hospitality and described Afghanistan as a safe place and a suitable environment for business and investment.

Representatives of the private sector of Kazakhstan spoke about holding exhibitions in Kabul, Balkh and Kandahar provinces, adding that in the near future they plan to hold exhibitions of Afghan manufacturing industries in Kazakhstan and an exhibition of Kazakh products in Afghanistan.

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Female entrepreneurs at Kabul women’s market say businesses are doing well



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2023)

A number of female entrepreneurs at the special women’s market in Kabul say their businesses are improving day-by-day and that they have also set up online shopping opportunities for women.

These women say they are happy to have their own market where they can sell their own goods.

“Our clothes are Afghani Gand (traditional dress). Our sellers and buyers are both women. We are happy that such a market has been established in Kabul,” said Ferozah Qasimi, a woman entrepreneur.

“The good thing about this market for women and girls is that they can easily and calmly use the green space here, relax their minds and buy the things they need from one place,” said another woman entrepreneur.

“My request to government and foreign institutions is to join hands with us, to cooperate with us so that we can make further progress in our work,” said another businesswoman.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce says there is no limit to women entrepreneurs.

“We are seeing very good developments in this chamber which is creating markets and creating expos,” said Salma Yousafzai, head of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) spokesperson Abdulsalam Jawad Akhundzada stated that the ministry supports businesswomen.

“The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has always supported women entrepreneurs and has always supported them in all aspects of trade and industry,” said Akhundzada.

“Thousands of women in 34 provinces of Afghanistan are actually working in various sectors of industry and investment,” he added.

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