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Private sector welcomes peace move which could bring enormous investment opportunities

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2020)

Peace in Afghanistan would provide enormous opportunities for local and international businesses to invest in the country, in turn boosting the economy and aiding in its overall development. 

Afghan business owners and leaders in the private sector have said the war has created major obstacles for investors in the country over the past 19 years. 

Following President Ashraf Ghani’s decree, issued on Monday afternoon, to release the remaining 400 prisoners so as to pave the way for peace talks, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) urged all warring parties to seize the opportunity to bring about peace so as to improve the country’s dismal economic climate.

“We welcome the Loya Jirga’s decision to release Taliban prisoners, which could have a positive impact on the country’s economic growth,” said Khanjan Alokozai, an ACCI member said. 

Officials at the Afghanistan Chamber of Mines and Industries seconded this and said peace in Afghanistan would not only increase investment opportunities but also create much-needed jobs. 

“With the release of the prisoners, our hope is that dialogue between Afghans will begin, as this will increase investment in the country,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, deputy director of the Chamber of Mines and Industries.

Ghani’s decree comes a day after the consultative Loya Jirga voted in favor of releasing the hardcore Taliban insurgents, as per the Doha agreement between the US and Taliban in February – which was one condition that needed to be fulfilled before intra-Afghan peace talks could start.

Meanwhile, economic experts are also optimistic about the opportunity for peace and for what is hoped will be the resultant economic growth in the country.

Hakimullah Siddiqui, an economist, said: “Both sides of the war must seize the opportunity to stabilize and grow the country economically, in order to increase economic opportunities.”

Other economists said peace would open up vast opportunities for investments in all sectors, including mining, agriculture, services, energy, and manufacturing. 

Talks are expected to officially begin on Sunday, in Doha, Qatar, between government and the Taliban.

The Afghan government’s negotiating team is expected to leave Kabul on Wednesday.

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Gov’t approves four wind and solar power projects

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2020)

The Afghan High Economic Council has approved four wind and solar power projects in Herat, Kabul and Balkh provinces.

Laima Khurram, director of public-private partnership policy at the Ministry of Finance, said the projects would cost an estimated $160 million.

“One of the wind power projects is in Herat with a capacity of 25 megawatts, another 40-megawatt solar power project is in Mazar, another 25-megawatt solar power plant is in Herat,” she said.

The projects are part of a public-private partnership between the government and the private sector.

This comes after last month’s agreement between the Afghan government and an Emirati company to generate 3,000 megawatts of solar power in Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan currently needs 2,000 megawatts of electricity to light homes and power the economy. However, it relies heavily on imported power from neighboring countries.

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Atmar addresses concerns of Afghans in Tajikistan

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

On a two-day official visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, acting foreign affairs minister Haneef Atmar met with a number of Afghan refugees, students and business owners at the Afghan Embassy on Friday evening where he discussed challenges they are facing. 

In a statement issued by foreign affairs on Saturday, the ministry said Atmar assured students and business owners that problems they have been dealing with – specifically due to COVID-19 – would be addressed as soon as possible. 

Easy border crossings for bilateral trade was also addressed and the embassy was instructed to assist refugees with problems they are facing, the statement read. 

Addressing Afghan students that attended the meeting, Atmar said it was important for them to return to their home country once they had completed their studies so as to help with the development of Afghanistan.

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Pakistan to set up markets along Afghanistan-Pakistan border

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(Last Updated On: September 18, 2020)

Pakistan has decided to establish 18 markets along the Pakistan-Iran and Pakistan-Afghanistan borders, Pakistan government said.

Pakistan’s government would establish the markets aimed at boosting trade with the two countries and preventing the menace of smuggling.

The decision was made during a high-level meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, Khan’s office said in a statement.

“The meeting was told that twelve border markets will be established on the Pak-Afghan border while six border markets will be established on the Pak-Iran border,” the statement read.

“The Prime Minister has approved the establishment of two border market in Balochistan Province and one border market in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a pilot project which will be completed and activated by February.”

Imran Khan’s Office noted that the decision to take more effective measures regarding the prevention of smuggling through borders

Talking about the establishment of border markets, the Prime Minister said that the establishment of markets where the population on border areas, especially youth, will get better business and trade opportunities, will come after fencing on the borders, the statement added.

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