On August 14, Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib participated in USAID’s event “Passage to Prosperity: India Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show”. USAID’s Office of Economic Growth hosted the event to discuss this years’ upcoming trade show in Mumbai and the desired outcome to advance trade integration by establishing economic ties between Afghanistan and the international markets.
Ambassador Mohib gave remarks about Afghanistan’s bilateral relationship with India, USAID’s support to advancing regional trade networks, and the advances made by the government in the trade and export area. He stated the bilateral trade is expected to reach more than $2 billion USD by 2020 with the opening of an air cargo route between the two countries. He added, “Afghan traders signed $68 million USD worth of deals for high-value agricultural products, such as pomegranates, saffron, apples, apricots, melons, grapes, nuts, and cherries, as a result of their participation at a recent trade mission in New Delhi.” The Ambassador discussed how India has become Afghanistan’s main regional development partner providing more than $3 billion in economic assistance and building roads, dams and infrastructure.
He emphasized Afghanistan’s economic growth and thanked USAID for their support with the reestablishment of trade and export systems: “USAID promoted air cargo for Afghan exports as a speedy and cost-effective alternative to road transport; working to airlift nearly 2000 tons of goods valued at $223 million from Kabul to international markets”. Ambassador Mohib shared that USAID has trained more than 35,000 people, placed 23,000 with existing companies (36% are women), and creating 17,777 full-time jobs. He added that USAID has supported the Afghan government in the implementation of its World Trade Organization post-accession strategy.
The Ambassador concluded his remarks discussing the Afghan government’s efforts to promote investment, simplify business processes as well as provide easier foreign authentications for investors. He stated: “The government reduced regulatory burdens, cutting the cost of obtaining a new business license from $440 to only $1”. He mentioned that the Afghan government passed new legislation that forms the legal foundation of a market economy, helping protect Afghan companies and investors’ rights as well as allowing them to take minority stakes in operating companies.
USAID’s Assistant Administrator- Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ms. Karen Freeman, and the Private Sector Lead of Afghanistan’s Office of Economic Growth, Mr. Chris Adams, spoke about the benefits of the trade relations between Afghanistan and India. Ms. Freeman congratulated the Afghan government for its commitment and cooperation in the trade and export development. Both reinstated USAID’s commitment to Afghan entrepreneurs provided technical, vocational and educational support.
Photo by: USAID
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