Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey in this video explores different facets of the economy of Afghanistan. He points out that Afghan economy has immense potential for growth, as it is in its rebuilding phase. That said, Afghan economy faces immense challenges as well. There is a serious lack of infrastructure in terms of road network, telephone connectivity, banking infrastructure, and internet reach. All these are crucial from the point of view of getting more industries, investments, and more jobs to a particular region. The other major drawback is the tenuous political situation. The threat of Taliban striking back is always in the background.
But these very problems can be opportunities for those who are willing to take certain risks. The most important requirement in Afghanistan is of connectivity. Getting internet to even remote areas is crucial not only in terms of connectivity within Afghanistan but also with the outside world. This kind of connection helps generate interaction, contacts, opportunities and also allows access to information and betterment opportunities.
Afghanistan’s population is more than 30 million currently. Thus, brands and products if marketed well can have a huge market here. Also, this market is relatively devoid of competition. This significant population is just beginning to get tools that a progressive economy requires to prosper. Their consumption patterns are on a rise, and they are a market eagerly awaiting more development and more choices for consumption. This is a fertile marketplace and an opportunity for investment. Afghanistan is also rich in mineral wealth that has not been exploited well so far. That is a very big draw for international investors.
It has been observed in other economies in the past like the Baltic states when they moved out of the USSR or Kenya that when their banking infrastructure was at rock bottom, they actually quickly moved quickly to the next level of growth. This means that instead of going for conventional bills and then credit cards, they directly went forward to mobile phone payments instead of taking the conventional trajectory for growth. So, therein, lies a huge opportunity for Afghanistan in terms of leapfrogging its growth.
Afghanistan also is centrally located in Central Asia which has the world’s richest mineral wealth. Culturally, the country is similar to other Central Asian countries thus trade offers a big opportunity. Stability in Afghanistan would give a tremendous boost to the economy of the entire region, which is already seeing better growth rates.
Afghanistan is rebuilding and finds many superpowers showing interest in getting involved in the rebuilding efforts not only in terms of infrastructure but also in educating and developing an open society. Afghanistan can offer a gateway into Central Asia and Southern Asia and is in a powerful geographical location close as it is to China and India.
And lastly, a very important point is that Afghanistan has been a progressive country in the past where women had a high status before Russian occupation. Thus, the country somewhere wishes to go back to those days of development that included a flourishing economy and educated women. Afghanistan truly is an economy waiting to revive.
Watch the entire interview in the video above.
For all my posts on Afghanistan, see my webtv.