Sunday, September 13, 2015

Development News

RECCA and Silk Road. Afghanistan hosted the sixth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan - RECCA VI- in Kabul. Afghanistan can benefit through forward-looking objectives geared towards regional economic integration. The country will reap rewards if it can capitalize on its natural role as the Asian transit and trade roundabout connecting the various countries in Central Asia, South Asia, and other regions to each other through trade. There are many initiatives that will aid in developing these trade routes to include the Silk Road projects by various countries in the region. Read more in "The Silk Road Through Afghanistan", by M. Ashraf Haidari in Foreign Policy, September 2, 2015.

Mining Sector Plagued by Corruption. In an unsurprising report two anti-corruption organizations accused the Afghan government of failing to take action to protect it's mining sector from graft and corruption. (U.S. News & World Report, Sep 6, 2015).

Afghan Reconstruction. Liana Barcia writes about how reconstruction in Afghanistan is a strategic balancing act in a news report. (,  Sep 7, 2015).

Food Insecurity. The number of people in Afghanistan resorting to selling land or turning to friends or family for help because of food insecurity has doubled in the last year according to a joint report released by the United Nations and partner agencies. (UN News Centre, Sep 10, 2015).

Airfield Economic Transition. The American Chamber of commerce in Afghanistan, in partnership with the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan and the U.S. Department of Commerce will promoting opportunities for the private sector to acquire key military airbase properties and assets including warehouses, hangars, cold storage facilities, offices, residences, fuel depots, maintenance facilities and many more. Watch a 2 minute video entitled "Airfield Economic Transition", by Resolute Support posted on, September 10, 2015.

Afghan Airspace Management Capacity Improves? The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) has up to now had a difficult time in taking over control of the airspace in Afghanistan. It would seem that now the wrinkles are ironed out - at least if we are to believe a news release by Resolute Support headquarters. Hmmmmm. Is it actual progress or just more 'spin'? Time will tell. Read "Afghanistan enhances airspace management capacity", DVIDS, September 12, 2015.

$200 Million for Afghan Power Grid. A number of nations are contributing a total of $200 million to the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF) that will go to the completion of a national grid that will benefit millions of Afghans and help reduce the power costs of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Currently most of the ANA facilities are powered by gas generators - a costly way of providing power. Hopefully that will change in the future - at least we might see less corruption if the requirement for fuel drops. Read more in "NATO allies, partners commit $200 million to help power ANDSF", DVIDS, September 10, 2015. Listen to MG Todd Semonite, CG of Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) explain the importance of this project in a short video posted by RS HQs on DVIDS on September 12, 2015; narrated by Capt. Sudan Harrington..

OpEd on Diplomatic Ties Needed for Economic Advances. "The geopolitical location of Afghanistan is quite promising, given it can bridge the world over with . . . " Central Asia, China, India, and Pakistan. It stands at a crossroads for trade. Part of this promise is the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan. Read more in "Regional Friendly Ties Earn Economic Riches", Daily Outlook Afghanistan, September 12, 2015.

UNOPS and Development Training. The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations. It supports the successful implementation of its partner's peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. It is very active in Afghanistan. UNOPS offers training programs in Afghanistan. Read of one trainee who is participating in a 60-day training event under the capacity building component of the Rural Access Improvement Project in "A rising civil servant in Mazar, Afghanistan", UNOPS, July 29, 2015.

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