World Bank to push ahead with some Afghan projects
The World Bank has resumed work on three projects in Afghanistan focused on health, agriculture and livelihoods, but will maintain a hold on some $150 million for education projects, two sources familiar with the decision said Tuesday.
The multilateral development bank had put all four projects, valued at around $600 million, on hold in late March, citing its deep concerns over the Islamic Emirate’s ban on girls attending public high school.
Group of Seven partners and other major donors to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) will meet to discuss the country’s mounting economic and food security problems on Friday during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury announced on Monday.
Some multilateral organizations, including the IMF, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Islamic Development Bank, will also take part, one of the sources said.
When it halted work on the four programs, the World Bank noted that its policies required all ARTF-financed activities to support access to – and equity of services for – women and girls in Afghanistan.
Officials decided to “resume preparations” for the three non-education projects, valued at around $450 million, given the deepening economic crisis in Afghanistan worsened by rising food and energy prices triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine, one of the sources said.
Russia calls its actions “a special military operation.”
The World Bank last week issued a dire outlook for Afghanistan’s economy, noting that per capita income had fallen by over a third in the last four months of 2021 following the seizure of power by the Islamic Emirate (IE) as U.S.-led foreign forces withdrew.
It said around 37% of Afghan households did not have enough money to cover food while 33% could afford food but nothing more.
When it agreed to free up ARTF funds for new projects to be implemented by U.N. agencies, the World Bank had stipulated that it expected a “strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit from the support.”
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has unraveled gains in rights made by women during the last two decades, including restricting them from working and limiting their travel unless accompanied by a close male relative. Most girls were also barred from going to public school beyond seventh grade.
Herat’s exports total $102 million in past year: officials
Herat province’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment says it has exported more than $100 million worth of goods over the past year.
Younus Qazi Zada, head of Herat Chamber of Commerce and Investment, said that during this period, more than 76,000 tons of goods were exported to Gulf countries, Europe, America and neighboring countries.
“Through the export department of Herat’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment, we exported 76,300 tons of different types of goods to Gulf countries, Europe, America and neighboring countries,” said Qazi Zada.
He said the exports totaled $102 million dollars, which was good for Afghanistan’s economy.
According to officials, the western region of the country has exported a large amount of agricultural and livestock products in the last year, and the number of exports has increased compared to previous years.
The local officials meanwhile have said they will try to improve the export process.
In addition, the export volume of medicinal plants from Herat province has also increased in the past year. Many farmers in the area have started cultivating such plants including asafetida, which are now being exported.
According to reports, Afghanistan has exported about $2 billion over the last year, which has increased exports due to the ease of businessmen and the reduction of customs tariffs.
Afghanistan’s exports total $2 billion for last solar year
The deputy minister of trade and industry said on Tuesday at a press conference that Afghanistan’s exports totaled $2 billion for the past solar year.
Presenting his financial report for the 1401 solar year, Mawlavi Qadratullah Jamal said: “For the first time, Afghanistan’s exports have reached about two billion dollars, which shows an increase of 135 percent compared to [solar year] 1400 and 166 percent compared to 1399.”
According to the deputy minister, the recent actions of the Islamic Emirate’s administrations on improving the trade balance, maintaining monetary stability, creating work opportunities and providing transparency in revenue collection are among the reasons for the growth in Afghanistan’s trade and export revenue.
“During the last year, with a total value of $925.5 million, coal, cotton, hemp, pomegranate, raisins, figs, grapes, Roman eggplant, black pine nuts and onions to Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, China, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Kazakhstan have been exported,” Jamal said.
Officials add that in order to standardize and increase the country’s exports, the ministry plans to establish export processing centers in five zones around the country.
Officials have also said that the necessary facilities have been provided for importing goods and that the private sector can import their goods without any problems.
The deputy minister added that in order to strengthen trade, facilitate exports and imports and expand cooperation between countries, necessary arrangements have been made with neighboring countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
The officials of the ministry say that in terms of development and improvement of the industry in Afghanistan, fundamental steps have been taken, which includes growth in 50 sectors – including the iron smelting and skewer production sector, the spice sector, the soft drink production sector, the carpet sector and the printing sector.
According to the ministry, there are 51 industrial parks in the country, of which 14 industrial parks have been kept active during the last year, and efforts are underway to attract investment and reactivate all industrial parks.
According to the officials, in terms of attracting domestic and foreign investments, by providing the necessary facilities, the barriers to the investors have been removed.
Recently, a service center was established at the Kabul airport, and so far, 100 investors have received visas through this center. In addition, the ministry has created a legal and regulatory framework so that domestic and foreign investors can invest in the country with full confidence.
Also, the complex and time-consuming processes have been modified and now the private sector and entrepreneurs can receive, renew or cancel their licenses in the shortest possible time, officials said.
According to the ministry, during the last year, 5,100 licenses were distributed, 7,228 licenses were renewed and 333 licenses were canceled and 7,000 business passports were also distributed.
According to officials, during the year 1401, the amount of 341.6 million afghanis was allocated to this ministry and the amount of 15.5 million afghanis was allocated to this ministry, of which 83.3 percent of this amount was used.
Also, in 1401, a total amount of 704.48 million afghanis was collected, which shows a 43.37 percent increase compared to last year.
Five countries eager to invest in lithium mines in Nuristan: officials
The Islamic Emirate officials say five countries are interested in investing in the “lithium” mining sector in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.
Mohammad Yunus Rashid, the deputy of youth in the Ministry of Information and Culture, said that Japan, the US, China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries that are interested in investing in the mining sector of lithium mines in Nuristan province.
“There is a lot of interest in lithium mining at the global level, five countries have made contact with the Islamic Emirate and said that they are ready to invest in this sector,” said Rashid.
According to officials, there are high capacities for economic self-sufficiency in the country and positive changes will be made in the economic development of the country in the near future.
Economic experts meanwhile believe that if the extraction and processing of the country’s minerals are done in Afghanistan, the country can get out of the economic crisis very quickly.
“There are trillions of dollars of capacity in Afghanistan’s mines, which should be invested, the statistics should be accurate, the regions should be determined, in which areas we have what kind of mines,” said Kamaluddin Kakar, an economic expert.
In addition, members of the private sector say they are trying to invest jointly and individually with foreign investors in the mining sector. They call on the Islamic Emirate to hand over mining contracts to companies that have the ability to process in the country.
Local charity helps 200 children with cleft palates and cleft lips
LSG and Punjab Kings victorious in their respective IPL matches
Syria: Another Iranian Revolutionary Guard aide dies after Israeli air strike
Women-run radio station closed for playing music during Ramazan
High activity spotted at North Korea nuclear complex
Afghan MMA fighter Farid Besharat defeats his American rival
Pakistani police serve arrest warrants on former PM Imran Khan
Afghanistan announce schedule for T20I series against Pakistan
School poisonings, if deliberate, deserve death: Iran leader
Kunduz commerce department’s revenues rise by 48%
Tahawol: Russia’s new foreign strategy against world discussed
Saar: World’s engagement with IEA discussed
Tahawol: IEA’s efforts to expand diplomatic ties discussed
Saar: Holding SCO meeting on Afghanistan discussed
Tahawol: 52nd regular session of Human Rights Council discussed
Sport3 days ago
ATN secures digital rights to broadcast IPL
Latest News5 days ago
Hundreds of needy families receive aid packages in Paktia
Health3 days ago
Chile detects first case of bird flu in a human
Business4 days ago
Afghanistan’s exports total $2 billion for last solar year
Latest News4 days ago
UNSC condemns continued ‘terrorist attacks’ against civilians in Afghanistan
Latest News4 days ago
Two women killed in knife attack at Lisbon Ismaili center
World4 days ago
Fire during protest at migrant center kills 38 in Mexico, officials say
Latest News3 days ago
IEA hoping to increase the number of soldiers to as many as 200,000 by end of this solar year