An Iranian delegation visited Kabul this week to hold talks with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on strengthening economic and trade ties between the two countries.
Members of Afghanistan’s private sector said Thursday Iran’s trade with Afghanistan totals more than $1 billion a year, adding that the Iranian delegation has urged Afghanistan to facilitate exports and transit between the two countries.
Mirwais Hajizada, deputy head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock stated: “We get Iran’s goods – from dairy products to construction materials and oil – but the export route from Iran to Afghanistan must be made easier.”
Meanwhile, a member of the Industrialists Union of Afghanistan said that expanding economic relations with Iran was important for Afghanistan.
He added that the government should discuss trade and investment, issues around Afghanistan’s exports as well as transit with the Iranian side.
“An agreement has been made with the delegation [Iran] in various sectors. We should increase cooperation with our neighbors to prevent an economic crisis in the country; we have shared details both about our domestic production and exports with the Islamic Emirate [officials],” Abdul Jabbar Safi, a member of the Union said.
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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