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Coronavirus; WB, ADB to fund hundreds of million dollars to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: April 18, 2020)

In order to fight against the COVID-19, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, European Union, US Embassy in Kabul and some other countries and organizations have promised to donate some USD310 million to Afghanistan.

Reportedly, the technical work of the aides has been completed to a great extent.
Officials in the Ministry of Finance say that they will allocate these funds for the health organizations to fight against the Coronavirus.

In addition to these funds, the government of Afghanistan has also said that it will provide billions of USD to fight the Coronavirus; however, there are questions and concerns regarding the management of the funds.
This comes as the World Bank in its latest report has listed 10 Asian countries – Afghanistan on top of the list – that will face economic crisis.

It has to be mentioned that to fight the Coronavirus and to manage the probable crisis, the resolving of the political turmoil in the country is a key factor.

COVID-19 has hit the economy around the world badly. Having said that, it is noteworthy that in underdeveloped countries such as Afghanistan, where the poverty and unemployment rate is high, the damage risks are expected higher.

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TAPI project suspended in Afghanistan until situation ‘stabilizes’

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The implementation of the TAPI (Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India) project has been suspended until the situation in Afghanistan stabilizes, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan told Russia’s TASS news agency this week.

“The work on the TAPI, as well as on other projects like CASA-1000 (power transmission system project), is on hold due to the situation in Afghanistan.

“According to the information that we have, at the moment no one is working on this project in Afghanistan as well as on other projects. Many people have been evacuated, and representatives of the World Bank are no longer represented in Afghanistan,” Khan told TASS.

“After stabilizing the situation, we will be able to return to the issue of construction. But for now, the project has been suspended until the situation is cleared up,” he added.

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Afghani falls to record low amid pressing currency shortage

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Economists are warning of an acute currency shortage in Afghanistan and the subsequent economic predicament as the Afghani has plummeted to its record low in trading.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) issued a report earlier this week urging prompt actions to prevent the Afghan banking system from collapsing, which is now “in disarray” featuring inadequate liquidity and decreased deposits.

The largest currency exchange market in Kabul now has been crowded with people and the Afghani has dropped to its all-time low.

Before the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA)’s takeover of Kabul in mid-August, one U.S. dollar was equal to about 70 Afghanis. But now the exchange rate hovers around 90 Afghanis to the dollar. The continued depreciation of the Afghan currency sparked fears among residents, with many flocking to the exchange market.

“Unfortunately in these two weeks the Afghan currency has been dropping down against foreign currencies with one dollar costing 95.5 Afghanis last week. Then the Afghanistan Bank released a statement that they will put 10 million U.S. dollars into the market, more than the 2.5 million dollars they actually took out. However, the price [of the U.S. dollar] didn’t go down but unfortunately have increased day by day,” said Zirak, spokesman from the all money dealers of Afghanistan.

Zirak said the country’s currency shortage was fueled by the combination of its assets frozen by the United States, the increasing domestic demand for U.S. dollars, as well as banks’ restrictions on dollar withdrawal.

The UNDP report noticed that non-performing loans in Afghanistan had increased from around 30 percent at the end of 2020 to 57 percent in September this year.

With the current trend and withdrawal restrictions, approximately 40 percent of the country’s deposit base will be lost by the end of 2021, said the report.

The currency shortage also comes along with rising prices. Some residents and businessmen in Kabul said that the prices of major commodities, such as food and fuel, have almost doubled compared with last year.

A Kabul resident is calling for the U.S. to release the frozen assets to save people’s lives.

“The U.S. blocked the money of Afghanistan, leading to the economic downturn. The poverty rate has reached its peak and people will die, so we urge the U.S. to release money of Afghanistan because [if not,] sure the people will die,” said Mustafa Bahram.

 

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Pakistan to allow India transit access to Afghanistan for humanitarian aid

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(Last Updated On: November 23, 2021)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced that Islamabad will allow the transit of 50,000 tonnes of wheat and winter shelters offered by India to Afghanistan.

This was among announcements by Khan after visiting the newly-established Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), along with Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and NSA Moeed Yousaf, where he chaired its first committee meeting.

Pakistan will also facilitate the return of Afghan patients who had gone to India for medical treatment and are stuck there, he announced, Tribune India reported.

Pakistan will also immediately ship in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs 5 billion, including 50,000 tonnes of wheat and winter shelters.

According to the Tribune India, Pakistani authorities have not however said whether Indian trucks will be allowed to travel to Afghanistan or whether they will have to offload the goods at the border and load the aid onto Pakistani or Afghan trucks.

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