Efforts underway to connect Afghan traders with world: MoE

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The Ministry of Economy (MoE) said it has drafted a plan through which Afghan traders and foreign investors will be provided with more facilities to invest in the country.

According to the MoE, the rate of imports has significantly dropped compared to last year. “We want trade to not be politicalized. We want the private sector to be active and incentivized as well as have government support,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy minister of Economy.

The Directorate of Non-Governmental Organizations said that nearly 2,200 national and foreign organizations were registered with the government and that at least 134 new organizations have been registered within the past six months.

“1,915 national organizations and 262 foreign organizations are registered in the ministry,” said Ihsanullah, Director of Non-Governmental Organizations.

The Ministry of Economy is also planning to launch some development projects to increase the domestic income in the country.

“The projects that have more benefits (will) create job opportunities and increase the revenue—those projects were assessed,” said Abdul Rahman Habib, a spokesman for the MoE.

As Afghanistan is a landlocked country, it relies on its neighbors for access to international markets.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s economy is set to contract up to 30% this year and this is likely to further fuel a refugee crisis that will impact neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe, the International Monetary Fund said.

With non-humanitarian aid halted and foreign assets largely frozen after the Taliban seized power in August, Afghanistan’s aid-reliant economy “faces severe fiscal and balance-of-payments crises”, it said in its regional economic outlook update.

“The resulting drop in living standards threatens to push millions into poverty and could lead to a humanitarian crisis.”

The IMF said the turmoil in Afghanistan was expected to generate important economic and security spillovers to the region and beyond and was “fueling a surge in Afghan refugees”, although it gave no estimates of potential numbers.

“A large influx of refugees could put a burden on public resources in refugee-hosting countries, fuel labor market pressures, and lead to social tensions, underscoring the need for assistance from the international community,” it said.

Assuming a million more Afghans flee their homeland and settle in other countries in a way that is proportional to the existing spread of Afghan refugees, the annual cost of hosting them would amount to $100 million in Tajikistan (1.3% of gross domestic product), about $300 million in Iran (0.03% of GDP) and more than $500 million in Pakistan (0.2% of GDP), the IMF said.

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