Afghanistan’s Transition from Aid Recipient to Market Economy
By Sayed Aziz Azimi
As we head towards 2014, it is becoming clear that Afghanistan must wean itself from an all-donor economy to a lesser reliance on friendly nation assistance. Donor nations—if they can still spare the money—and investors should help to boost business by facilitating direct access to capital for Afghans in the form of investment loans (OPIC was very successful in their initial offerings in Afghanistan). The United States has finally placed a full time Commerce Department representative at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and that is a very good start, and there are active Chambers of Commerce of Afghan and U.S. businesses in Kabul, Dubai, and in the United States.
These are all good approaches that build on the accomplishments so far of the donor campaign to rebuild Afghanistan. Through donor funding:
• Afghanistan’s physical infrastructure has been given a good start
• Afghan police and military have secure facilities built to U.S. standards
• The Afghan government now has upgraded airports, roads, and border crossing stations
Each of these advances will help Afghanistan to re-enter the world market.
However, the time has arrived to bring the global private sector role into Afghanistan’s development equation. The Afghan government—under the auspices of U.S. experts—should foster worldwide investors in partnership with Afghan developing mining industries.
Afghanistan must learn and account for the reality of its regional context: it would be impossible for Afghanistan, for instance, to fully spring forth as an industrialized state able to compete with the likes of India’s, China’s, and even Iran’s and Pakistan’s economies. However, given the riches of its untapped resources—including mines and the potential for the production of hydroelectric power, irrigation, and fresh potable water—Afghanistan can have a symbiotic relationship and an important role in maintaining and accelerating the economic growth of its neighbors while developing a sustainable economy for herself. In this way, Afghanistan will be swimming with the tide and meeting its objectives of economic growth, permanent security and a higher standard of living. Afghanistan needs American backing more than ever, even more than the US military’s might.
The relationship between Afghanistan and the United States must now expand to other areas of expertise and on a business-to-business basis, American expertise will be essential to guide Afghans in developing the following industries:
• Energy and Power
As a U.S. company, Technologists, Inc. is uniquely qualified to provide assistance to major companies with this process in a number of ways:
• Assisting major companies in identifying Afghan markets for labor and materials
• Liaison with the Afghan government and on-the-ground logistics
• Design and construction of investment infrastructure and company facilities
• Program Management
Ti has built a strong presence in Afghanistan over the past eight years and in the process we have developed methods and systems for operating under differing conditions in every region of the country. We now have several years of experience in the construction and manufacturing industries in Afghanistan and we have established a number of factories and production facilities, including metal fabrication, construction materials, quarrying, and mining. This experience has given us a tremendous number of resources which we offer to other companies in partnership in the pursuit of new ventures.
Afghanistan stands at a crossroads, and economic development and global investment will be the key to its development in the post-donor economy—and Technologists, Inc. will remain a strong presence in Afghanistan’s future.