The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) deputy head said Thursday that Afghanistan’s international air corridor for cargo will resume next week.
Mohammad Younis Mohmand told Ariana News the first flight will carry pine nuts.
The ACCI however continues to criticize Pakistan over its treatment of Afghan businessmen and called for issues to be resolved at the Torkham and Spin Boldak land ports.
Mohmand also blasted the United States for holding Afghanistan’s foreign reserves “hostage”.
He said this was a matter of grave concern as it directly affected the country’s economy.
Mostly all economic activity in the country came to a grinding halt almost two months ago when the former government collapsed.
Now however, with a vastly improved security situation, the export of Afghan produce via air corridors will resume, he said.
“Flights are ready, InshAllah (God Willing), maybe in four or five days the first cargo flight abroad will take place,” said Mohmand.
On the issue of treatment of Afghan businessmen by Pakistan, Mohmand called for good relations between both sides.
“Relations are not good. We call for mutual respect in all economic sectors with all our friends and neighbors in order to improve the economic situation,” Mohmand added.
Mohmand meanwhile said the freezing of Afghan assets by the US was an extremely serious situation and that the continuation of this will exacerbate the economic crisis in the country.
“We demand the release of Afghan money. Our banking system is in trouble because of this money and all major projects have stopped,” Mohmand added.
He also called for the banking system to be normalized and said the process of trade and investment was dependent on reliable banking activities.
ADB approves $405 million in grants to help overcome crisis in Afghanistan
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday it has approved $405 million in grants to support food security and help sustain the delivery of essential health and education services for the Afghan people.
According to a statement issued by the ADB, under its Sustaining Essential Services Delivery Project (Support for Afghan People), ADB will provide direct financing to four United Nations (UN) agencies operating in Afghanistan.
This is for immediate humanitarian support in response to the unprecedented crisis and to help sustain the country’s human development, the statement read.
According to UN estimates, 22.8 million people are at risk of acute food insecurity.
These funds will enable the provision of emergency food to over 800,000 people and farm inputs, fertilizers, or small farm equipment to around 390,000 households. Around 168,000 people will be covered under food-for-work and cash-for-work programs.
In addition, $200 million will go towards maintaining basic health care and essential hospital services, covering a target population of about 5.3 million people, and the procurement and deployment of 2.3 million single-dose COVID-19 vaccines.
Other initiatives will also be driven through the use of the grant money that includes community-based education classes, for boys and girls; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will monitor project implementation, undertake macroeconomic and social assessments in the country, and assess the impact of ADB’s assistance.
Kabul’s China Town to host expo to boost trade
Chinese businessmen in Kabul have said they plan to host a trade fair aimed at boosting bilateral trade ties between the two countries, China’s Global Times reported.
According to the report, China Town in Kabul will host Afghanistan’s first China-Afghanistan commodity technology fair, as well as the second China-Afghanistan business fair in April.
A source from China Town in Kabul told Global Times that arrangements for both expos have been made and invitations have been sent out to key individuals including Afghan government officials and Chinese businessmen.
“This form of exhibition is unprecedented, since no Chinese company has done it before,” Li Xijing, deputy general manager of China Town, told the Global Times on Sunday.
“We have sent invitations to the various Afghan government departments, and they have indicated that they would participate in the meeting at that time… there will be more participants expected,” Li said.
Organizers said they hope to build a bridge for direct communication between Chinese and Afghan enterprises and merchants and create a platform to bring together Chinese businesses.
About 95 percent of Afghan goods are imported, and Chinese goods account for 60-70 percent of all imports.
First shipment of Indian wheat through Pakistan expected early February
India and Pakistan have reached an agreement over the transit of emergency aid to Afghanistan, The Times of India reported Monday.
TOI reported that this move will see 50,000 metric tons of wheat being sent overland from India to Afghanistan via Pakistan in early February.
Indian and Pakistani officials have reportedly worked on the agreement for two months.
India recently sent its third batch of assistance to Kabul, mostly life-saving medicines, by air.
According to the agreement, trucks from Afghanistan, operating under UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) will ferry Indian wheat from the India-Pakistan border to Afghanistan via Pakistan’s Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan.
Pakistan meanwhile announced that it has put all arrangements in place and was awaiting final confirmation from India for the despatch of the first consignment.
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