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Afghanistan gets new microfinance scheme

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(Last Updated On: November 24, 2022)

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) along with the Aga Khan Development Network’s First MicroFinanceBank-Afghanistan (FMFB-A), have launched a new microfinancing scheme to assist internally displaced people, returnees, and residents of host communities engaged in small business activities.

The scheme, which is Islamic and Sharia financing compliant, is a joint initiative to help small businesses, particularly women-run enterprises.

This is UNHCR’s first microfinance initiative in Afghanistan aiming to benefit the most vulnerable people as they move into productive economic activities, a statement issued by the agency reported.

The scheme is initially being rolled out by First MicroFinanceBank in five provinces, Balkh, Bamiyan, Herat, Kabul, and Nangarhar and will expand to other locations where FMFB-A maintains branches, the statement noted.

“Afghans, particularly women, are striving to support their households with very marketable skills and abilities,” declared UNHCR Representative Leonard Zulu. “This initiative will help individuals get a firm foothold on the business ladder and establish themselves, while delivering more economic vitality to their communities.”

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A company will invest $27.5 million in ruby mining on the outskirts of Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum on Friday announced that Ariana Highland Company will invest $27.5 million in the extraction of Jegdalek ruby mine on the outskirts of Kabul.

In a statement, the ministry said that the bidding ceremony for the mine was held again with the participation of Ariana Highland and Mirza Sultani companies, adding that the former won it by accepting 44 percent share for the Islamic Emirate.

Based on the statement, Ariana Highland Company will spend $5 million in the social services.

Jegdalek ruby deposit is located 100 km from Kabul city, in the southwest of Surobi district, and it covers 6.9 square kilometers.

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MoU signed for start of Trans-Afghan railway feasibility studies

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(Last Updated On: February 20, 2024)

The Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) announced on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed for feasibility studies on the Trans-Afghan railway project.

ARA said that the head of the organization, Bakhtur Rahman Sharafat, signed the MoU during his visit to Uzbekistan on Monday. The MoU was signed between Uzbek and UAE officials and Afghanistan.

ARA said once the feasibility study has been completed, results will be shared with various stakeholders including financial institutions, countries and businessmen from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

Officials attending Monday’s meeting also decided a virtual meeting would be held on Wednesday with Qatari and Pakistani officials.

The Trans-Afghan railway once completed will connect Central Asia with South Asia.

Starting in Balkh’s Mazar-e-Sharif, the 647km line will pass through Samangan, Baghlan, Bamiyan, Maidan Wardak, Logar and Paktia provinces and on to Pakistan.

This project has been under discussion for many years. After regaining power, the Islamic Emirate approved the initial survey which was successfully completed by the technical teams of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan Railways.

ARA has meanwhile said it once again invites countries, financial organizations and businessmen to invest in Afghanistan railway projects.

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Import, export volumes total $7.5 billion in 1st nine months of this solar year

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(Last Updated On: February 19, 2024)

Afghanistan’s export and import volumes totaled $7.5 billion in the first nine months of this solar year – 1402, the National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) said on Monday.

NSIA said exports totaled $1.35 billion while imports amounted to $6.22 billion.

Last solar year, 1401, saw exports total $1.37 billion while imports totalled $5.12 billion.

NSIA said most exports went to Pakistan ($689.9 million), followed by India ($463 million) and the UAE ($32 million).

The most popular export item was dried fruit, which totaled $342.7 million. Medicinal plants, minerals and fresh fruit were second, third and fourth respectively.

The authority stated that the most imported items in the first nine months of this solar year came from Iran and totaled $1.31 billion.

Goods from Pakistan followed totaling $1.15 billion and then China with goods worth $1.14 billion.

Imports were dominated by fuel, petroleum and gas, at $1.1 billion, followed by machinery, vehicles and spare parts which totaled $691.9 million.

Other high volume goods included textiles, metals and metal products.

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