Showing posts with label economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economy. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Economy, Development, and Humanitarian News

Slow Progress in Badghis. Officials in this northwestern province of Afghanistan are warning that there will likely be public protests if there is no significant progress on a number of long-delayed development schemes. There is a lack of safe drinking water and reliable electricity. Read "Anger Over Slow Progress in Afghan Province", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, March 19, 2018.

Badakhshan Mines. The lapis mines of this area of Afghanistan is one of the richest assets of the Afghan people but the Taliban and other crime groups are the organizations receiving benefit from the mining of these gems. Read more in "Gemstone Smuggler Says Badakhshan Mines Out of Govt Control", Tolo News, March 21, 2018.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Economic, Development, and NGO News

NGO Meeting in Kabul.  A meeting was held presided by the Afghan government with representatives from Non-Governmental Organizations that work in Afghanistan. The conference was held to evaluate NGOs work in Afghanistan in terms of helping with economic development and poverty alleviation. President Ghani said that NGOs have not always implemented projects in an effective manner. He is stressing more interaction and cooperation with the Afghan government. Read more in "Ghani Says NGOs Will Have to Report to Govt", Tolo News, March 12, 2018. See also "Abdullah Wraps up Two-Day NGO Conference in Kabul", Tolo News, March 13, 2018.

Nimruz Water Project. The residentes of Nimruz have high hopes about the dramatic differences a major dam project will have on life in the semi-arid province. Safiullah Amiri writes "Hopes Overflow for Afghan Water Project", Institute for War and Peace Reporting, March 18, 2018.

Pipeline Hopes. The TAPI project was first proposed in 1995 in an attempt to get Central Asian energy to markets in South Asia. However, once the Taliban took power the venture was dropped. Since 2001, with the demise of the Taliban regime, efforts have been made to revive the project. Hopefully the TAPI project will bring increased prosperity to Afghanistan, improve Afghan's confidence in its government, and play a part in reducing insecurity. "A Pipeline for Landlocked Afghanistan: Can It Help Deliver Peace?", The Asia Foundation, March 14, 2018.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Development and Economic News about Afghanistan

Fiber-Optic Line. The Afghan Ministry of Communication and IT (MCIT) says that a fiber optic cable line streaming an Internet connection from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan is expected to run alongside the TAPI pipeline. (Tolo News, Mar 5, 2018).

India, Development, and Afghanistan. India has played a responsible role in Afghan economic development according to Alice Wells - the Acting Assistant Secretary of State of South and Central Asian Affairs. (The New Indian Express, Mar 10, 2018).

JHOC Taught by USAID. The United State Agency for International Development held a two-day course for U.S. military members at Bagram AF in January. The Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC) helps prepare military leaders and planners to work collaboratively with civilian agencies during international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations. Read "On Standby: Preparing the U.S. military in Afghanistan for humanitarian operations", Resolute Support, March 2018.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Development and Economic News about Afghanistan

Lapis Lazuli Route. A planned transit corridor is expected to play a significant role in the growth of Afghanistan's economy. The Lapis Lazuli Route will connect Afghanistan with Central Asia and beyond into Turkey and Europe. (Tolo News, Feb 28, 2018).

Central Asian Railroad Could Benefit Afghanistan. Uzbekistan has repaired a section for railway that links it to southern Tajikistan. Rail service could resume in March 2018. In theory, this could also enable increased trade with Afghanistan. (, Feb 28, 2018).

Greenhouses in Afghanistan. The use of plastic and bamboo can help an Afghan farmer transition from poppies to high-end cash crops like grapes, walnuts,apples and almonds. Read more in "How Greenhouses are Warming Afghanistan up to Peace", MSN News, March 2, 2018.

Mining in Afghanistan - It's Complicated. News reports indicate that a few American firms are looking at having a role in developing the coal mining industry in Afghanistan. This is seen by some observers as something that would bring benefits to the local community and that is an economic venture unlikely to be vulnerable to the Taliban. Catherine Putz looks at the history of mining and concludes that coal mining by Americans probably wouldn't work out so well. Read "Why the Americans Shouldn't Dig for Coal in Afghanistan", The Diplomat, February 28, 2018.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Development and Economic News

TAPI: A Milestone in Country's Economic Development. The start of the construction of the Afghanistan section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline in Herat province holds great promise for the country. (Tolo News, Feb 22, 2018).

Water Security. One of the constant irritants in the relationship between Iran and Afghanistan centers along the water that makes its way into Iran from Afghanistan. Read more in "Can Iran and Afghanistan cooperate to bring an oasis back from the dead?", Science Magazine, February 21, 2018.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Development & Economic News - Afghanistan

Railway Corridor. The Afghanistan National Railway Authority (ANRA) says that a report for the establishment of 880 klics of railway line is 50% complete. The railway system will connect five countries in the region. Read "Five Nations Railway Corridor to Power Regional  Economies", Tolo News, February 15, 2018. The rail system in Afghanistan is very undeveloped; read more about railroads in Afghanistan.

U.S. Aid to Afghanistan Needed. The Borgen Project aims to ensure U.S. foreign policy ensures the providing of aid to humanitarian needs of impoverished countries. Read "How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to Afghanistan", Borgen Magazine, February 14, 2018.

Squandering of Afghan Mineral Resources. Afghanistan has lots of mineral resources that are not being leveraged properly. Read "Riches Lie Below the Surface in Afghan Province", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, February 12, 2018.

Herat Cleared of Mines. Using United Kingdom funding HALO Trust says that Herat province is now cleared of minefields. The effort started in 2008. Certainly good news for the farmers working in the fields. (Gandhara, Feb 16, 2018).

Illegal Mining in Afghanistan. Mohammad Ismail Amin writes about the mining industry in "Illegal Mining: Headache for Afghanistan Government, International and Local Investors", Eurasia Review, February 12, 2018.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Afghan Development & Economic News

Afghan Marble Mine in Herat
(Photo by Melissa Skorka, ISAF CAAT, 2013)

Afghan Mineral Development. Afghanistan is reach in natural resources to include extensive deposits of minerals. However, One shouldn't Count Your Rocks Before Their Mined!  A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has provided 20 pages of information about the abundance of mineral resources and the problems encountered in turning this resource into a productive source of revenue. See Quarterly Report to the United States Congress, SIGAR, January 30, 2018, pages 1-20.

Developing Afghanistan's Coal Industry. There appears to be some progress in the coal mining sector of Afghanistan. Read "Afghanistan, US Companies Working on Afghan Coal Deal", Voice of America, February 2, 2018.

Looting of Afghanistan's Mineral Resources. A 2017 report describes the criminal activity involved in the mineral resources economic sector of Afghanistan. Read "Industrial-Scale Looting of Afghanistan's Mineral Resources", by William Byrd and Javed Noorani, United States Institute for Peace (USIP),  May 30, 2017.

Indonesia - Afghanistan Air Corridor? The Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) said that the two countries have talked about opening an air corridor. This would allow Afghan traders to export dried and fresh fruits, carpets, and medicinal herbs to Indonesia. There is an existing air corridor with India - and attempts are in the works to open one up with Kazakhstan and other countries as well. (Tolo News, Feb 6,2018).

Northern Afghanistan DDA's Get New Facilities. The Afghan-German Cooperation has built 13 new administrative buildings and three conference rooms for District Development Assemblies (DDAs) in Badakhshan, Baglan, Kunduz, and Takhar. The German Stabilisation Programme Northern Afghanistan SPNA financed the new facilities. Deutshe Zusammenarbett, February 2, 2018.

CDCS. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is developing its new Country Development and Cooperation Strategy for Afghanistan. Implementation date is likely to be mid-2018.

For more info see development in Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Development and Economy

Lessons Learned - Stability Opns in Afghanistan. Charles Barham, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, continued service to his country by working as a civilian in the Af/Pak Hands Program. He concentrated on development and stability issues and offers his observations in "Stability Operations: Lessons from Afghanistan"Small Wars Journal, February 11, 2016.

Riving the Economy. William Byrd says that ". . . reviving the Afghan economy during a time of intensifying violent conflict, declining external financial aid, and ongoing political uncertainty and dysfunction will be extremely challenging." His report proposes some targeted, near-term measures to increase confidence and stimulate the economy. Read What Can Be Done to Revive Afghanistan's Economy?, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), February 9, 2016.

IMF Report on Afghanistan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a report (Feb 11, 2016) entitled Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Ex Post Assessment of Longer-Term Program Engagement.

Paper - Economy, Education & Health. The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has published a 93-page paper entitled The Political Economy of Education and Health Service Delivery, dated January 2016.

Way Forward for Economy. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) says that unemployment and lack of economic opportunity are frequently cited by Afghan citizens as a number one problem in Afghanistan. CIPE has launched local economic programs that will be of benefit to several provinces by encouraging economic growth. Read about the Provincial Business Agendas (PBAs) established by CIPE in "A Way Forward for Afghanistan's Economy", CIPE Development Blog, February 8, 2016.

Cities are the Future. According to one report Afghanistan's future is urban with its cities population doubling in the next 15 years. Read State of Afghan Cities Report 2015, by UN Habitat, Feb 2016.

Silk Road, Development, and Afghanistan. China has some long-range and robust plans for its "Silk Road". Plans (including a maritime component) are to link existing and future rail and road links from China through Central Asia to the Middle East and Europe. For this to happen the region must see a level of security and stability (Afghanistan stands out here). Read more in "China's Silk Road: How China is Building the Biggest Commercial-Military Empire in History",, February 2, 2016.

Foreign Investment Drops. The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said that there is danger of an economic recession if the government does not take steps to tackle the decline in foreign investment in the country. Read "Afghan Economy Trembles Amid Foreign Investment Decline: ACCI"Tolo News, February 12, 2016.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Development News

Four Reforms Necessary for Afghanistan's Economy. According to one observer Afghanistan's economy will be able to stand on its own feet if the Afghan government begins with four reforms. The author, Dr. Mohammad Hotak,is the president of the British-Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Read "From Aid to Trade", Foreign Policy, August 19, 2015.

Quality of Girl's Education in Afghanistan. Arne Strand examines the state of girls education in "Expanding and improving the quality of girls' education in Afghanistan"Brookings Institute, August 19, 2015.

Is IRD on the Upbound? The International Relief and Development (IRD) firm has had a tough year but that might be over. Once the darling of USAID in Afghanistan it fell under investigation and for a while was barred from USAID contracts. But now it appears the firm is back in business. Read "IRD's return from the brink", DEVEX, August 20, 2015.

Teacher & Education Crisis in Afg. Two writers have penned a paper about a teacher crisis and the quality of education in Afghanistan. Read "Too Few, Badly Paid, and Unmotivated", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), August 22, 2015.

Is a "Special Representative" of the UN needed for Aid Workers? A recent news report by IRIN (Aug 18, 2015) informs us of a movement for the establishment of a United Nations Special Representative to advance the safety of humanitarian workers around the globe. Read "On World Humanitarian Day, a new idea to protect aid workers".

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Paper - Economics in COIN

It is estimated that the Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of State (DoS) combined spent over $100 billion in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The Commission on Wartime Contracting estimates that much of this money was lost due to fraud, waste and abuse. Employing economics in a stability situation such as Afghanistan always presents challenges. However, many problems in this field were the result of the lack of an overall unified strategy for economic reconstruction. This paper compares previously deployed economic development plans (WWII and Vietnam) to efforts undertaken in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read "Economics in Counterinsurgency Operations", by Hayes J. Weidman, IAS-004, March 2015. The paper is a special study published by the Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Foreign Investment in Afghanistan? Unlikely for Now

Everyone acknowledges that the Afghan economy, despite some bright spots here or there, is in trouble. Foreign investment is stalled and Afghan money is flowing to Dubai and other locations. According to the World Bank the country has the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the region with an average per capita annual income of around $670. Many are calling for government policies to encourage foreign investment but . . . with an ongoing insurgency that shows no signs of going away and a continuing problem with rampant corruption . . . it is unlikely that very much foreign investment will take place at a significant level. Read more in "Attracting Foreign Investments to Afghanistan: A Reality or Dream?", Khaama Press, December 27, 2014.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

IMF Report on Afghanistan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published a report based off a recent trip to Afghanistan. Read more in a press release dated December 2, 2014.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Inequality in Afghanistan

Insurgencies have root causes and in Afghanistan these root causes are easy to identify. One of the biggest is the vast divide between the "haves" and "have nots". There are many ways of classifying the "haves" and "have nots" but one of the easiest is to use the urban and rural labels. Read more in "The Price of Inequality: The Dangerous Rural-Urban Divide in Afghansitan - Analysis", Eurasia Review, November 26, 2104. The author is Tamin Asey - a fellow at the Asia Society and a Fulbright scholar at Columbia University. He was also a former Government of Afghanistan official and taught at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Afghan Economy is Suffering

The business climate in Afghanistan is suffering with the prospect of ISAF departing in December 2014. The business community in Kabul is worried and optimism is falling. Read more in "Afghan economy struggles amid security fears as U.S. troops pull out", The Washington Times, October 27, 2014.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Experts Skeptical of New Silk Road

The United States rolled out the New Silk Road Strategy (NSRS) a few years back as one of the ways of filling the void of a diminished United States military presence in Afghanistan. The intent was to link the Central Asian states together (along with Afghanistan) in trade in an effort to increase economic activity and strengthen economies. The outcome would provide a stronger economy for Afghanistan which would cut into the support insurgents would enjoy from the population. However there are doubts that the NSRS will work. Read more in "Following the New Silk Road", The Diplomat, October 22, 2014.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Failed States Index - Afghanistan #7

Good News! Afghanistan is not the "most failed state" in the world; although it does come in on top ten. The country may be the 1st (sometimes 2nd) most corrupt nation in the world but it seems to be considered less fragile than 6 other countries. The nations that beat out Afghanistan are:

1. South Sudan
2. Somalia
3. Central African Republic
4. Democratic Republic of Congo
5. Sudan
6. Chad

Quite an achievement. So the the corrupt Afghan government leaders may be the world's most corrupt but at least there are several African countries that are more "fragile"! All those lives and billions of dollars we have spent have really brought Afghanistan out of the 14th century and into the . . . well, maybe . . . um . . .  15th century. You can view rankings of the most failed states on Foreign Policy at the following link:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ghani Brings Economic Optimism

With the election of President Ghani a new optimism is taking hold about Afghanistan's economy. Read more in "With New President, Economic Optimism Returns to Afghanistan", National Public Radio (NPR), October 21, 2014.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Role of Neighbors in Rebuilding Afghanistan

A recent posting by Ajay Anil Cherian posted on International Policy Digest (October 12, 2014) entitled "Rebuilding Afghanistan: The Role of Its Neighbors" provides concrete reasons why the three countries of India, China, and Pakistan should provide substantial assistance to developing and reconstructing Afghanistan.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Afghan Civil Service Pay for Oct on Hold

Afghanistan has run out of money. The country will delay paying salaries to hundreds of thousands of civil servants because it does not have enough cash. Afghan military and police pay comes from a separate fund (courtesy of the U.S.).  Afghanistan has asked for $537 million in emergency funds from the United States; no word on whether we will fork over another 1/2 billion dollars. U.S. officials say that it would not provide "new money"; but may provide an advance of $537 million from next years allocation. Read more in "Cash-Poor Afghanistan Will Delay Paying Civil Servants - Finance Ministry Official", The New York Times, September 27, 2014.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Report - "Drugs or Hope", AREU (Sep 14)

The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has published a new report on the opium poppy cultivation dynamics in Afghanistan. The AREU conducted field research in Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand and Nangarhar provinces during three agricultural years from 2010 to 2012. The intent was to explore the dynamics of opium poppy cultivation, the history of government policies and programs, and the ways in which these policies and programs affected the ability of rural households to maintain their livelihoods. The paper is entitled "Despair or Hope: Rural Livelihoods and Opium Poppy Dynamics in Afghanistan", AREU, September 2014. You can view an abstract online here or read online and download here.