Economy of Afghanistan

The economy of Afghanistan has had significant improvement in the last decade due to the infusion of billions of dollars in international assistance and remittances from Afghan expatriates. The assistance that came from expatriates and outside investors saw this increase when there was more political reliability after the fall of the Taliban regime.[8] The nation's GDP stands at about $70 billion with an exchange rate of $20 billion (2017), and the GDP per capita is about $2,000.[3] It imports over $6 billion worth of goods but exports nearly $1 billion only, mainly gold, opium, fruits and nuts.[6][9]

Despite holding over $1 trillion in proven untapped mineral deposits, Afghanistan remains one of the least developed countries on the planet. About 25% of its population is unemployed and lives below the poverty line.[3][10] Many of the unemployed men join the foreign-funded militant groups or the world of crime, particularly as smugglers. The Afghan government has long been pleading for foreign investment in order to improve Afghanistan's economy.

Economy of Afghanistan
Rebuilt ministry finance
CurrencyAfghani (AFN)
21 December – 20 December
Trade organizations
SAARC, ECO, WTO and SCO (observer)
Statistics
GDP$20.367 billion (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
$72.697 billion (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP rank114th (nominal, 2018)
102nd (PPP, 2017)
GDP growth
2.4% (2016) 2.7% (2017)
2.4% (2018e) 2.7% (2019f) [2]
GDP per capita
$2,018 (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
$565 (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP per capita rank
170th (PPP, 2017)
176th (nominal, 2017)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 23%
industry: 21.1%
services: 55.9% (2016 est.)[3]
note: data exclude opium production
5% (2017)[3]
Population below poverty line
35.8% (2011, World Bank)[4]
Labor force
8.478 million (2017 est.)[3]
Labor force by occupation
agriculture: 44.3%
industry: 18.1%
services: 37.6% (2017)[3]
Unemployment23.9% (2017 est.)[3]
Main industries
small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food-products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper
183rd (2017)[5]
External
Exports$784 million (2017)[3]
note: not including illicit exports or reexports
Export goods
gold, opium, fruits and nuts, Afghan rugs, wool, cotton, hides, gemstone, and medical herbs[6]
Main export partners
 India 56.5%
 Pakistan 29.6%
 Iran 3.1%
 Iraq 2.1%
 Turkey 1.9% (2016)[6]
Imports$7.616 billion (2017)[3]
Import goods
machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles and petroleum products
Main import partners
 China 21%
 Iran 20.5%
 Pakistan 11.8%
 Kazakhstan 11%
 Uzbekistan 6.8%
 Malaysia 5.3% (2017)[3]
$1.014 billion (2017 est.)[3]
$2.84 billion (FY/)[3]
Public finances
7% of GDP (2017)[3]
-15.1% (of GDP) (2017)[3]
Revenues2.276 billion (2017)[3]
Expenses5.328 billion (2017)[3]
Foreign reserves
$7.8 billion (2019)[7]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Economic history

Ancient Afghanistan was one of the most prosperous countries in the world owing to its vibrant trade with Greater India that extended till Bangladesh and beyond.

In the early modern period under the rule of kings Abdur Rahman Khan (1880–1901) and Habibullah Khan (1901–1919), a great deal of Afghan commerce was centrally controlled by the Afghan government. The Afghan monarchs were eager to develop the stature of government and the country's military capability, and so attempted to raise money by the imposition of state monopolies on the sale of commodities and high taxes. This slowed the long-term development of Afghanistan during that period. Western technologies and manufacturing methods were slowly introduced during these eras at the command of the Afghan ruler, but in general only according to the logistical requirements of the growing army. An emphasis was placed on the manufacture of weapons and other military material. This process was in the hands of a small number of western experts invited to Kabul by the Afghan kings. Otherwise, it was not possible for outsiders, particularly westerners, to set up large-scale enterprises in Afghanistan during that period.[11]

The first prominent plan to develop Afghanistan's economy in modern times was the Helmand Valley Authority project, modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States, which was expected to be of primary economic importance.[12] The country began facing severe economic hardships during the 1970s when neighboring Pakistan, under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, began closing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossings. This move resulted in Afghanistan increasing political and economic ties with its northern neighbor, the powerful Soviet Union of that time.

The 1979 Soviet invasion and ensuing civil war destroyed much of the country's limited infrastructure, and disrupted normal patterns of economic activity. Eventually, Afghanistan went from a traditional economy to a centrally planned economy up until 2002 when it was replaced by a free market economy.[13] Gross domestic product has fallen substantially since the 1980s due to disruption of trade and transport as well as loss of labor and capital. Continuing internal strife severely hampered domestic efforts to rebuild the nation or provide ways for the international community to help.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the Afghan economy grew 20% in the fiscal year ending in March 2004, after expanding 30% in the previous 12 months. The growth is attributed to international aid and to the end of droughts. An estimated $100 billion of aid entered the nation from 2002 to 2017. A GDP of $4 billion in fiscal year 2003 was recalculated by the IMF to $6.1 billion, after adding proceeds from opium products. Mean graduate pay was $0.56 per man-hour in 2010.

Agriculture and livestock

A fruit vendor at the Kabul International AgFair-2009
A fruit vendor at the Kabul International AgFair in 2009.
Afghan pomegranate processing
Workers processing pomegranates (anaar), which Afghanistan is famous for in Asia.
Tunnelerziehung Afghanistan 02
Afghan grapes

Afghanistan currently produces roughly 1.5 million tons of fresh fruits annually, which could be increased significantly.[14] It is known for producing some of the finest fruits, especially apples, apricots, cherries, figs, grapes, melons, sweet mulberries, peaches, and pomegranates.[9][15][16][17][18] Building and using greenhouses is a fast-growing industry in the country.[19][20]

The northern Afghan provinces are famous for pistachio cultivation.[21][22][23] In recent years, farmers in the southern and western provinces have also began cultivating pistachios.[24][25] Provinces in the east of the country are famous for pine nuts.[26] The central provinces are famous for almonds and walnuts.[27] The Bamyan Province in central Afghanistan is also known for growing superior potatoes, which on an average produces 140,000 to 170,000 tonnes.[28] Nangarhar Province is known for oranges, olives, peanuts, and dates.[29][30][31] Cultivation of these fruits are now spreading to other provinces in the south of the country.[32]

Wheat and cereal production is Afghanistan's traditional agricultural mainstay. National wheat production in 2015 was 5 million tons.[33] Afghanistan is nearing self-sufficiency in grain production. It requires an additional 1 million ton of wheat to become self-sufficient, which is predicted to be accomplished in 2020.[34] The overall agricultural production sometimes declines following droughts.

Livestock in Afghanistan mainly include cattle, sheep, and goats.[35] Building and using modern poultry farms is also a fast-growing industry.[36] The availability of land suitable for grazing has traditionally made animal husbandry an important part of the economy. There are two main types of animal husbandry: sedentary, practiced by farmers who raise both animals and crops; and nomadic, practiced by animal herders known as Kuchis. Natural pastures cover some 7,500,000 acres (30,000 km2) but are being overgrazed. The northern regions around Mazar-i-Sharif and Maymana were the home range for about six million karakul sheep in the late 1990s. Most flocks move to the highlands in the summer to pastures in the north.

Arable land in Afghanistan is around 8 million hectares. Wheat production stands at about 5 million tonnes,[33] nurseries hold 119,000 hectares of land, and grape production is at 615,000 tonnes. Almond production has jumped to 56,000 tonnes and cotton to 45,000 tonnes, with the saffron yield reaching 2,000 kilograms.[37]

Fishing

The country has plenty of reservoirs, rivers and streams, which make it a suitable climate for fish farming. Fishing takes place in the lakes and rivers, particularly in Nangarhar Province and in the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan.[38] Fish constitute a smaller part of the Afghan diet today because fish farmers are unable to produce enough fish to keep up with the demands of customers. Most fish and seafood are imported from neighboring Pakistan, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.[39] There are hundreds of fish farms throughout the country and the largest one is at the Qargha, which supplies fish eggs to the other fish farms. Fish farming has also been launched in the Salma Dam.[40]

Forestry

The Lumber Yards of Asadabad-2
Lumber yard in Asadabad, Kunar Province.

Afghanistan's timber has been greatly depleted, and since the mid-1980s, only about 3% of the land area has been forested, mainly in the east. Significant stands of trees have been destroyed by the ravages of the war. Exploitation has been hampered by lack of power and access roads. Moreover, the distribution of the forest is uneven, and most of the remaining woodland is only found in the Kunar, Nuristan and the Paktia regions in the east of the country.

The natural forests in Afghanistan are mainly of two types: dense forests of oak trees, walnut trees, and many other species of nuts that grow in the southeast, and on the northern and northeastern slopes of the Sulaiman ranges; and sparsely distributed short trees and shrubs on all other slopes of the Hindu Kush. The dense forests of the southeast cover only 2.7% of the country. Roundwood production in 2003 was 3,148,000 cubic metres, with 44% used for fuel.

The destruction of the forests to create agricultural land, logging, forest fires, plant diseases, and insect pests are all causes of the reduction in forest coverage. Illegal logging and clear-cutting by timber smugglers have exacerbated this destructive process. There is currently a ban on cutting new timber in Afghanistan. Prior to 2001 and under Taliban rule, massive deforestation of the country side was permitted and Afghans moved large quantities of logs into storage centers for profit, where the trees wait for processing on an individual tree by tree request.

Trade and industry

2006Afghan exports
Afghan export destinations, 2006.
Tree map export afghanistan all show 2009.jpeg
A proportional representation of Afghan exports, 2009.
Lapis Lazuli Route Agreement text finalized
Officials of Afghanistan, Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signing the Lapis Lazuli Route agreement in 2016, which will create a new trade route from Afghanistan to the Caucusus and Turkey.
Lapis Lazuli Route
Map of the Lapis Lazuli Route

Afghanistan's trade with other countries is steadily increasing.[41][42] Afghan handwoven rugs are one of the most popular products for exportation. Other products include hand crafted antique replicas as well as leather and furs. Afghanistan is the third largest exporter of cashmere.[43]

Afghanistan is endowed with a wealth of natural resources, including extensive deposits of natural gas, petroleum, coal, marble, gold, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semi-precious stones, and many rare earth elements.[44] In 2006, a U.S. Geological Survey estimated that Afghanistan has as much as 36 trillion cubic feet (1.0×1012 m3) of natural gas, 3.6 billion barrels (570×106 m3) of oil and condensate reserves.[45] According to a 2007 assessment, Afghanistan has significant amounts of undiscovered non-fuel mineral resources. Geologists also found indications of abundant deposits of colored stones and gemstones, including emerald, ruby, sapphire, garnet, lapis, kunzite, spinel, tourmaline and peridot.[46]

In 2010, U.S. Pentagon officials along with American geologists have revealed the discovery of nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan.[47][48] A memo from the Pentagon stated that Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium".[49] Some believe, including former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that the untapped minerals are worth up to $3 trillion.[50][51][52]

Another US Geological Survey estimate from September 2011 showed that the Khanashin carbonatites in the Helmand Province of the country have an estimated 1 million metric tonnes of rare earth elements. Regina Dubey, Acting Director for the Department of Defence Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) stated that "this is just one more piece of evidence that Afghanistan's mineral sector has a bright future."[44]

Afghanistan signed a copper deal with China (Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.) in 2008, which is to a large-scale project that involves the investment of $2.8 billion by China and an annual income of about $400 million to the Afghan government. The country's Ainak copper mine, located in Logar province, is one of the biggest in the world and is expected to provide jobs to 20,000 Afghans. It is estimated to hold at least 11 million tonnes or US$33 billion worth of copper.[53][54]

Trucks on the road in northern Afghanistan-2012
Trucks on the road in Afghanistan

Experts believe that the production of copper could begin within two to three years and the iron ore in five to seven years as of 2010. The country's other recently announced treasure is the Hajigak iron ore mine, located 130 miles west of Kabul and is believed to hold an estimated 1.8 billion to 2 billion metric tons of the mineral used to make steel. AFISCO, an Indian consortium of seven companies, led by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), and Canada's Kilo Goldmines Ltd are expected to jointly invest $14.6 billion in developing the Hajigak iron mine.[55] The country has several coal mines but need to be modernized.[56]

Afghanistan's important resource in the past has been natural gas, which was first tapped in 1967. During the 1980s, gas sales accounted for $300 million a year in export revenues (56% of the total). 90% of these exports went to the Soviet Union to pay for imports and debts. However, during the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, Afghanistan's natural gas fields were capped to prevent sabotage by the Mujahideen. Gas production has dropped from a high of 8.2 million cubic metres (2.9 × 108 cu ft) per day in the 1980s to a low of about 600,000 cubic meters (2.2 × 107 cu ft) in 2001. After the formation of the Karzai administration, production of natural gas was once again restored.[57]

Afghan border crossing at Sher Khan in Kunduz Province-4
The Port of entry at Shir Khan Bandar in Kunduz Province, near the border with Tajikistan.

A locally owned company, Azizi Hotak General Trading Group, is currently the main supplier of diesel fuel, gasoline, jet fuel and LPG in Afghanistan.[58] In December 2011, Afghanistan signed an oil exploration contract with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) for the development of three oil fields along the Amu Darya river.[59] The state will have its first oil refineries within the next three years, after which it will receive very little of the profits from the sale of the oil and natural gas.[60] CNPC began Afghan oil production in late October 2012, with extracting 1.5 million barrels of oil annually.[61]

Trade in goods smuggled into Pakistan once constituted a major source of revenue for Afghanistan. Many of the goods that were smuggled into Pakistan have originally entered Afghanistan from Pakistan, where they fell under the 1965 Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement. This permitted goods bound for Afghanistan to transit through Pakistani seaports free of duty. Once in Afghanistan, the goods were often immediately smuggled back into Pakistan over the porous border that the two countries share, often with the help of corrupt officials. Additionally, items declared as Afghanistan-bound were often prematurely offloaded from trucks and smuggled into Pakistani markets without paying requisite duty fees.[62][63] This resulted in the creation of a thriving black market, with much of the illegal trading occurring openly, as was common in Peshawar's bustling Karkhano Market, which was widely regarded as a smuggler's bazaar.[64]

In 2010, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed into law a new Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which allows their shipping trucks to transit goods within both nations. This revised US-sponsored APTTA agreement also allows Afghan trucks to transport exports to India via Pakistan up to the Wagah crossing point.[62][63] Afghanistan's main land ports are Shir Khan Bandar, Hairatan, Islam Qala, Towraghondi, Torkham, Wesh–Chaman, and Zaranj.

Economic development and recovery

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a trilateral Meeting in Iran
From left to right: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during the signing of the Chabahar Port transit agreement in May 2016.

Afghanistan embarked on a modest economic development program in the 1930s. The government founded banks; introduced paper money; established a university; expanded primary, secondary, and technical schools; and sent students abroad for education. In 1952 it created the Helmand Valley Authority to manage the economic development of the Helmand and Arghandab valleys through irrigation and land development,[12] a scheme which remains one of the country's most important capital resources.[65]

In 1956, the government promulgated the first in a long series of ambitious development plans. By the late 1970s, these had achieved only mixed results due to flaws in the planning process as well as inadequate funding and a shortage of the skilled managers and technicians needed for implementation.[66]

افغان يونايټېډ بانک
Afghan United Bank

Da Afghanistan Bank serves as the central bank of the nation. The "Afghani" (AFN) is the national currency, which has an exchange rate of nearly 70 Afghanis to 1 US dollar. There are over 16 different banks operating in the country, including Afghanistan International Bank, Kabul Bank, Azizi Bank, Pashtany Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and First Micro Finance Bank. Cash is still widely used for most transactions. A new law on private investment provides three to seven-year tax holidays to eligible companies and a four-year exemption from exports tariffs and duties. According to a UN report in 2007, Afghanistan has received over $3.3 billion from its expatriate community in 2006. UN officials familiar with the issue said remittances to Afghanistan could have been more if the banking regulations are more convenient.[8] Additionally, improvements to the business-enabling environment have resulted in more than $1.5 billion in telecom investment and created more than 100,000 jobs since 2003.[67]

Afghanistan is a member of World Trade Organization, SAARC, ECO, OIC, and has an observer status in the SCO. It seeks to complete the so-called New Silk Road trade project, which is aimed to connecting South Asia with Central Asia and the Middle East. This way Afghanistan will be able to collect large fees from trade passing through the country, including from the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline. Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul has stated that the "goal is to achieve an Afghan economy whose growth is based on trade, private enterprise and investment". Experts believe that this will revolutionize the economy of the region.

Khair Khana in 2012
Shopping district in the Khair Khana neighborhood of Kabul.

As part of an attempt to modernize the city and boost the economy, a number of new high rise buildings are under construction by various developers. Some of the national development projects include the $35 bn New Kabul City next to the capital,[68] the Aino Mena in Kandahar, and the Ghazi Amanullah Khan City east of Jalalabad.[69] Similar development projects are also found in Herat in the west, Mazar-e-Sharif in the north and in other cities.[70]

As a competitor of the Coca-Cola Company, the Pepsi-Cola Company is said to be establishing itself in Afghanistan.[71] This not only promotes foreign investment but also makes the country less dependent on imports from neighboring countries and helps provide employment opportunity to many Afghans.[72][73] Watan Group is a company based in Afghanistan that provides telecommunications, logistics and security services.

In February 2019, it was reported that the World Bank granted $235 million to the government of Afghanistan for the country's development and growth. The acting Minister of Finance Humayon Qayoumi said that out of the total amount granted, $75 million will finance "the Tackling Afghanistan's Government HRM (Human Resource Management) and Institutional Reforms (TAGHIR) project, which will strengthen the capacity of selected line ministries. The grant also includes 25 million U.S. dollars from IDA (International Development Association) and 50 million U.S. dollars from ARTF (Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund)."[74]

Tourism

Tourism in Afghanistan was at its peak in 1977. Many tourists from around the world came to visit Afghanistan, including from as far away as Europe and North America. All of that ended with the start of the April 1978 Saur Revolution. However, it is again gradually increasing despite the insecurity. Each year about 20,000 foreign tourists visit Afghanistan.[75] Tourists should avoid areas where armed criminals operate in the name of Taliban. As a policy, the Taliban are known not to harm tourists. Distinguishing the two groups is very difficult.

The country has four international airports, including the Hamid Karzai International Airport, Mazar-e Sharif International Airport, Kandahar International Airport and Herat International Airport. It also has several smaller airports throughout the country. The city of Kabul has many guest houses and hotels, including the Serena Hotel, the Hotel Inter-Continental Kabul, and the Safi Landmark Hotel. Guest houses and hotels can also be found in the other cities, including in Bamyan.[76]

The following are some notable tourist sites in Afghanistan:

National accounts

The majority of the following information is taken from, or adapted from The World Factbook

Year[77] 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP in $
(PPP)
18.76 Bil. 20.81 Bil. 21.52 Bil.. 24.84 Bil. 26.97 Bil. 31.39 Bil. 33.24 Bil. 40.39 Bil. 44.33 Bil. 48.18 Bil. 55.92 Bil. 60.05 Bil. 62.78 Bil. 64.29 Bil. 66.65 Bil. 69.55 Bil.
GDP per capita in $
(PPP)
845 900 896 999 1,052 1,191 1,230 1,458 1,561 1,655 1,875 1,966 2,007 2,009 1,923 1,957
GDP growth
(real)
... 8.7 % 0.7 % 11.8 % 5.4 % 13.3 % 3.9 % 20.6 % 8.6 % 6.5 % 14.0 % 5.7 % 2.7 % 1.3 % 2.4 % 2.5 %
Government debt
(Percentage of GDP)
346 % 271 % 245 % 206 % 23 % 20 % 19 % 16 % 8 % 8 % 7 % 7 % 9 % 9 % 8 % 7 %

GDP: purchasing power parity $69.45 billion, with an exchange rate at $20.24 billion (2017 estimate)

GDP - real growth rate:

  • 2.7% (2017)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,000 (2016)

GDP - composition by sector:

  • agriculture: 23%
  • industry: 21.1%
  • services: 55.9%

note: data excludes opium production

Population below poverty line:

  • 54.5% (2017)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

  • lowest 10%: 3.8%
  • highest 10%: 24% (2008)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2017)
country comparison to the world: 171

Labor force: 8.478 million (2017)
country comparison to the world: 61

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 44.3%, industry 18.1%, services 37.6% (2017)

Unemployment rate: 23.9% (2017)
country comparison to the world: 194

Budget:

  • revenues: 2.276 billion (2017)
  • expenditures: 5.328 billion

Industries: small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food-products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper

Electricity - production: 913.1 million kWh (2009)
country comparison to the world: 150

Electricity - production by source:

  • fossil fuel: 23.5% of total installed capacity (2009)
  • hydro: 76.5% of total installed capacity (2009)
  • nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2009)
  • other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption: 2.226 billion kWh (2009)
country comparison to the world: 137

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2010)

Electricity - imports: 1.377 billion kWh (2009)

Oil - production: 1,950 barrels per day (310 m3/d) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 210

Oil - consumption: 4,229 barrels per day (672.4 m3/d) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 165

Oil - proved reserves: 1,600,000,000 barrels (250,000,000 m3) (2006)[45]

Natural gas - production: 220 million m³ (2001)

Natural gas - consumption: 220 million m³ (2001)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 15.7 trillion cubic feet (2006)[45]

Agriculture - products: opium, wheat, fruits, nuts, wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins, poppies

Exports: $784 million (2017)
country comparison to the world: 171

Exports - commodities: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems, and medical herbs

Exports - partners: India 56.5%, Pakistan 29.6% (2017)

Imports: $7.616 billion (2017)

Imports - commodities: machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products

Imports - partners: China 21%, Iran 20.5%, Pakistan 11.8%, Kazakhstan 11%, Uzbekistan 6.8%, Malaysia 5.3% (2017)

Debt - external: $2.84 billion total (2011)[78]

  • Russia - $987 million
  • Asian Development Bank - $ 596 million
  • World Bank - $435 million
  • International Monetary Fund - $114 million
  • Germany - $18 million
  • Saudi Development Fund - $47 million
  • Islamic Development Bank - $11 million
  • Bulgaria - $51 million
  • Kuwait Development Fund - $22 million
  • Iran - $10 million
  • Opec - $1.8 million

Current account balance: -$743.9 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 132

Currency: Afghani (AFN)

Exchange rates: Afghanis (AFN) per US dollar - 68.3 = $1

  • 57.25 (2013)
  • 46.45 (2010)

Fiscal year: 21 December - 20 December

See also

References

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External links

Afghan Threat Finance Cell

The Afghan Threat Finance Cell is a multi-agency intelligence organization, in Afghanistan.

The organization was created in 2008.

The United States' Drug Enforcement Administration is the lead agency in the organization.

The co-deputy agencies are the United States Treasury and the United States Department of Defense. Other participating agencies include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the United States Internal Revenue Service.

The Afghan Threat Finance Cell was set up at the initiative of General David Petraeus, when he was promoted to command of CentCom, based on the experience of the earlier Iraqi Threat Finance Cell, that had reported to him when he was in command in Iraq.Tracking both illicit and legitimate financial transactions led to 27 approved targets to be named on the "Joint Prioritized Effects List". The Joint Prioritized Effects List is colloquially called the "kill or capture list". Once an individual is named on this list, special forces are authorized to covertly target and raid that individual's home or workplace.

In February 2011, Dexter Filkins, writing in The New Yorker, reported:

The Threat Finance Cell also has almost single-handedly demonstrated the degree to which the American-led war in Afghanistan is compromised by connections among the Taliban, drug traffickers, and Afghan officials. The organization was instrumental in exposing corruption in the Kabul Bank, which came close to collapse in 2010.In February 2012 the Afghan Threat Finance Cell was awarded the

Department of Defense's Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

Afghan morphine

Afghan morphine or "Poppy for Medicine" is an alternative development solution put forward to combat the poverty and public disenchantment caused by international counter-narcotics eradication policies in Afghanistan. Licensing opium poppy cultivation in order to locally manufacture and market Afghan morphine, according to this proposal, would create the economic conditions to empower poverty stricken rural Afghans and cut their ties with the illicit poppy trade.

Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of opium (82% of global opium production), cultivating 1,650 square kilometres of poppy and a potential 6,100 metric tons of opium in 2006, according to the UNODC World Drugs Report 2007. Afghanistan is also the source of the large majority of heroin seized in Europe. Since the US-led international intervention in 2001 to depose the Taliban, eradication programmes have been carried out by the Afghan government and their international backers, but since 2003, opium production in Afghanistan has risen sharply: the area cultivated in 2006 is 59% more than that cultivated in 2005. Equally, eradication and displacement has led to poverty among rural populations, as 2.9 million Afghans are involved in poppy cultivation. Eradication policies have, for many, led to a growing hostility among Afghans towards the government and international community who are seen to be destroying livelihoods by pursuing eradication policies.

Afghanistan Study Group

The Afghanistan Study Group is a task force that produced a report called A New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan. It was organized by Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation, directed by Matthew Hoh and "included some four dozen denizens of think tanks, academics and former US government officials."

City of Light Development

The Kabul - City Of Light Development is an urban reconstruction plan, first proposed by urban planner and architect Hisham N. Ashkouri to revitalize the capital city of Afghanistan. The plan targets an area just south of the Kabul River for redevelopment. This area, approximately 3.5km long and 1.75 km wide, still hosts residences, commercial and retail activity, despite the fact that it has been largely reduced to rubble after years of occupation and civil war, and many of the collapsed structures have become temporary shelters constructed of whatever is available, without building codes or standards. The plan will revitalize Meywand Avenue, one of the main avenues of commerce in the city and part of the historic Silk Route, between the Shah Do Shamshera Mosque and the Id Gah Mosque. Retail, business, and residential areas are planned, alongside preserved and restored structures of historic value. Also incorporated into this project is the new Afghan National Museum.

Economic Cooperation Organization

The Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO is a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization which was founded in 1984 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. The ECO is an ad hoc organisation under the United Nations Charter. The objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union. The ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.

The nature of the ECO is that it consists of predominantly Muslim-majority states as it is a trade bloc for the Central Asian states connected to the Mediterranean through Turkey, to the Persian Gulf via Iran, and to the Arabian sea via Pakistan. The current framework of the ECO expresses itself mostly in the form of bilateral agreements and arbitration mechanisms between individual and fully sovereign member states. This makes the ECO similar to ASEAN in that it is an organisation that has its own offices and bureaucracy for implementation of trade amongst sovereign member states.

This consists of the historically integrated agricultural region of the Ferghana Valley which allows for trade and common agricultural production in the border region of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Free trade agreements between the industrial nations of Iran and Turkey are due to be signed in 2017. Likewise the Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement is due to be signed. Pakistan has free trade agreements with both Afghanistan and Iran which are signed and are in the process of implementation, and currently most of Afghanistan trade is through Pakistan. And the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement is designed to facilitate trade for goods and services for Central Asia via both Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is in addition to the Ashgabat agreement which is a multi-modal transport agreement between the Central Asian states.Further cooperation amongst members is planned in the form of the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, as well as a Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan pipeline. Current pipelines include the Tabriz–Ankara pipeline in addition to the planned Persian Pipeline. This is in addition to the transportation of oil and gas from resource rich Central Asian states such as Kazakshtan and Turkmenistan of minerals and agriculture that complements the industrialisation underway in Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. Pakistan plans to diversify its source of oil and gas supplies towards the Central Asian states including petroleum import contracts with Azerbaijan.

Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement

The Economic Cooperation Organization Free Trade Agreement or ECOTA was an agreement reached on 17 July 2003 at the ECO summit in Islamabad whereby a free trade region was formed between the countries of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As of 2008, the ECOTA is in effect.

Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority

The Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority (HAVA) based in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, originally named the Helmand Valley Authority (HVA) until its expansion in 1965, was established on December 4, 1952 as an agency of the Afghan Government. The agency was modelled on the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States, with a remit covering lands in Farah Province, Ghazni Province, Helmand Province, Herat Province, and Kandahar Province.The HAVA is overseen by the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (previously the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation).

Karaste Canal

The Karaste Canal is an irrigation canal in Tagab District of Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan.

The canal draws water from the Tagab River.

The canal was initially constructed in the 1970s, but had functioned for only a single season.

Reconstruction of the canal began in 2005, with USAID assistance, and was completed in 2007.

List of banks in Afghanistan

This is a list of banks in Afghanistan.

List of exports of Afghanistan

The following is a list of the exports of Afghanistan.

Data is for 2012, in millions of United States dollars, as reported by The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Currently the top ten exports are listed.

List of regions of Afghanistan by Human Development Index

This is a list of regions of Afghanistan by Human Development Index as of 2017.

M-Pesa

M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. It has since expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India and in 2014 to Romania and in 2015 to Albania. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services (Lipa na M-Pesa) easily with a mobile device.The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service.M-Pesa is a branchless banking service; M-Pesa customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that includes airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents.

M-Pesa has spread quickly, and by 2010 had become the most successful mobile-phone-based financial service in the developing world. By 2012, a stock of about 17 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya. By June 2016, a total of 7 million M-Pesa accounts have been opened in Tanzania by Vodacom. The service has been lauded for giving millions of people access to the formal financial system and for reducing crime in otherwise largely cash-based societies.

Nake M. Kamrany

Nake M. Kamrany Ph.D., J.D. (August 29, 1934, Kabul, Afghanistan) is a professor at the University of Southern California and Afghan-American economist.

Kamrany has over 20 publications on the political economy of Afghanistan. He has been a Consultant to the United Nations and the U.S. Government.

New Kabul Bank

New Kabul Bank is a bank in Afghanistan that has its main branch in the capital city of Kabul. It was established in 2004 as the Kabul Bank, the first private bank in Afghanistan. After corruption and scandals it was re-established in 2011 as the New Kabul Bank.

It is the main bank used to pay the salaries of the national army and security police forces. The bank provides facilities to maintain accounts in Current, Savings Bank, andfFixed deposits; and offers its consumers branch and automated teller machine services. The bank is under the supervision of the Central Bank of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistan Bank−DAB), the General Directorate of Treasury, and the Afghanistan Ministry of Finance (MOF).

Opium licensing

Opium licensing is a policy instrument used to counter illegal drug cultivation and production. It has been used in countries such as Turkey and India to curb illegal opium production. The main mechanism used under opium licensing is a shift from cultivation and/or production for the illegal market towards legal uses such as the production of essential medicines such as morphine and codeine.

Poverty in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one amongst the poorest countries in the world. In Afghanistan, poverty is widespread in rural and urban areas. However, it has been estimated that poverty in Afghanistan is mainly concentrated in rural areas. It has been estimated that four out of five poor people live in rural areas. In these rural areas, families without enough access to adequate nutrition see many infants and children become stunted, malnourished, and die each year. The regions in Afghanistan where almost half of the inhabitants are poor are the East, Northeast, and West-Central regions. According to the Afghan government's estimates, 42 per cent of the Afghanistan's total population lives below the poverty line. Also, 20 percent of people living just above the poverty line are highly vulnerable to falling into poverty.

Small and Medium Enterprises Lending in Afghanistan

Small and Medium Enterprises in Afghanistan employ 10 to 500 employees, have sales up to US$1 million and paid-in capital of up to US$1 million. Lenders are banks, financing companies, some MFIs, local money exchange service providers (Hawala dealers), credit unions and societies. Most of these loans are disbursed against collateral of title deeds, land deeds, property and automobile deeds. Some small loans are secured by neighbors, personal guarantees and character.

The SME loans that are disbursed by these lenders range from US$2,000-250,000.

The majority of SMEs operate in cities such as Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni, Jalalabad, Kunduz, Faizabad, Maimana, JawzJan and Taloqan.

Interest rates are marked from 12% up to 24% depending on mutual deals, loan amounts and credit history. Most formal lenders charge 0.5% to 2.0% of the loan amount as an up-front processing fee.

South Asian Free Trade Area

The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached on January 6, 2004, at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad, Pakistan. It created a free trade area of 1.6 billion people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (as of 2018, the combined population is 2.08 billion people, about 27% of the world's population of 7698628000 ). The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework agreement on SAFTA to reduce customs duties of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016. The SAFTA agreement came into force on January 1, 2006, and is operational following the ratification of the agreement by the seven governments. SAFTA requires the developing countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) to bring their duties down to 20 percent in the first phase of the two-year period ending in 2007. In the final five-year phase ending 2012, the 20 percent duty will be reduced to zero in a series of annual cuts. The least developed nations in South Asia (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Maldives) have an additional three years to reduce tariffs to zero. India and Pakistan ratified the treaty in 2009, whereas Afghanistan as the 8th memberstate of the SAARC ratified the SAFTA protocol on 4 May 2011.

Taxation in Afghanistan

This article refers to Taxation in Afghanistan.

In the early 1980s, direct taxes accounted for about 15% of government revenues. The share provided by indirect taxes declined from 42% to 30%, as revenues from natural gas and state enterprises played an increasing role in government finance. Tax collection, never an effective source of revenue in rural areas, was essentially disabled by the disruption caused by fighting and mass flight. Under the Taliban, arbitrary taxes, including those on humanitarian goods, were imposed.In 2005 the government introduced an income (or wage) tax. Employers with two or more employees were required to pay 10% on annual income over about $3,500 and 20% on income over about $27,000.

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