Friday, 31 August 2018

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) of Afghanistan said the Lapis Lazuli Corridor agreement will be implemented within the next two months and will see the first Afghan shipment of goods exported to Europe

Ministry of Industry and Commerce says the first shipment of Afghan goods to Europe through the Lapis Lazuli Corridor will include handicrafts and dry fruit.The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) on Tuesday said the Lapis Lazuli Corridor agreement will be implemented within the next two months and will see the first Afghan shipment of goods exported to Europe via the new route. The Lapis Lazuli Corridor agreement was signed by Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in November. The corridor will start at Afghanistan’s northern Aqina port in Faryab province and Torghandi in western Herat province and will run through to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan. From there it will cross the Caspian Sea and will link the Azerbaijani capital Baku to Tbilisi and Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti. It will then connect with Kars in eastern Turkey before linking to Istanbul and Europe. The inaugural shipment will carry Afghan handicrafts and dry fruit to Europe, said Musafir Qoqandi, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. “In the next eight to 10 weeks, the first shipment will be sent from Aqina and Torghandi ports and with the arrival of this shipment the operational work will start officially. The five nations will use the corridor for trade with each other and other countries and especially Afghanistan, which is keen to have access to Europe,” said Qoqandi. Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) meanwhile said the corridor will not be ready for trade within the next two months as the agreement implementation still faces some problems on Afghanistan’s part. The ACCI deputy head Khan Jan Alokozai said a few multilateral agreements should be signed ahead of the start of trade through the Lapis Lazuli Corridor. “This is good news, but unfortunately it is not practical. We have lots of problems. First, multilateral customs agreements should be signed between the countries from which the corridor crosses,” said Alokozai. According to ACCI statistics, Afghanistan's annual import volume from Europe and Turkey through Iran is USD 900 million but the country’s exports to European nations totals USD 6 million a year. Alokozai said the Afghan government should not send the first shipment as a pilot shipment, but should take bigger steps and import all goods from Europe and Turkey through this corridor. He said it is much cheaper than through Iran. The Lapis Lazuli Corridor is the shortest and cheapest way to transit Afghanistan’s and Asian countries’ goods to Europe, the ACCI deputy head said.

Afghan officials said that a delegation from Uzbekistan is in Kabul to start initial assessments on Pul-e-Khumri-Surkhan Power Project in northern Baghlan province


Analysts said government should implement infrastructure projects to ensure Afghanistan’s power besides focusing on imported projects.

Alla scoperta del Minareto di Jam, uno dei siti afghani iscritti nella lista del patrimonio mondiale dell'UNESCO

E’ stata inaugurata il 6 agosto all’Ambasciata d’Italia a Kabul la mostra dedicata al Minareto di Jam, uno dei siti afghani iscritti nella lista del patrimonio mondiale dell'UNESCO.
Realizzata congiuntamente dal governo afghano e dall’agenzia ONU per la cultura, l’esposizione ha mostrato per la prima volta al pubblico la documentazione tridimensionale del minareto realizzata nel corso di una recente spedizione archeologica, confrontandola al contempo con i rilievi fotografici condotti dall’architetto italiano Andrea Bruno negli anni ’60 e ’70 durante le prime documentazioni scientifiche del monumento.
“Nonostante il difficile contesto di sicurezza, siamo di lieti di ospitare la mostra in Ambasciata, quale omaggio al significativo contributo che l’Italia ha dedicato alla salvaguardia di questo eccezionale monumento, sin dalla sua scoperta a metà del secolo scorso. E’ anche un riconoscimento all’opera dell’architetto Bruno in Afghanistan, che tra gli altri ha progettato la sede della rappresentanza diplomatica italiana a Kabul”, ha detto l’Ambasciatore Roberto Cantone in apertura dell’evento.
Costruito nel 1194 nella provincia di Ghor per volere di Ghyath al-Din Muhammad, sultano della dinastia Ghurida al momento del suo massimo splendere, il Minareto di Jam si configura come una preziosa testimonianza dello sviluppo raggiunto dall’Afghanistan e dalla cultura Islamica già nel XII secolo. Il minareto si erge per un’altezza complessiva di 65 metri, da una base ottagonale di 9 metri di diametro ed è considerato il modello di riferimento nella costruzione del Minareto di Qutb, a Nuova Delhi, conosciuto per essere il minareto in muratura di mattoni più alto al mondo.
“Con questa iniziativa vogliamo mostrare agli afghani e ai nostri partner internazionali quanto il governo consideri prioritaria la promozione della cultura e della storia quali elementi fondamentali nel processo di ricostruzione dell’identità nazionale, in momento così importante per le sorti dell’Afghanistan”, ha evidenziato il Ministro delle Finanze ad interim Mohammad Humayun Qayoumi.
La mostra è stata realizzata nell’ambito del Programma nazionale per la promozione della cultura e delle industrie creative in Afghanistan (NPCE) e dal 9 al 25 agosto sarà visitabile presso il Padiglione Espositivo dei Giardini di Babur, nel centro storico di Kabul.
“I risultati raggiunti nel recente lavoro di documentazione dettagliata del Minareto di Jam non sarebbero stati possibili senza l’attiva partecipazione del governo afghano e il significativo supporto ricevuto dalla comunità internazionale”, ha sottolineato la Direttrice e Rappresentante UNESCO per l’Afghanistan, Patricia McPhillips.
>>> AMBASCIATA D'ITALIA - KABUL

Afghan Ministry of Agriculture wants to replace Kazakh flour with wheat

Over 200 wheat processing factories have stopped working in the country and the ongoing drought has left the factories almost bankrupt.
Officials said that the minister of agriculture is leading a high-level delegation from the private sector to Kazakhstan where they will hold talks with Kazakh officials on reaching an agreement about the proposal. The plan is aimed to address the vulnerabilities we have from the drought and to help the wheat processing factories, said spokesman of the ministry. According to industrialists, over 200 wheat processing factories have stopped working in the country and that the ongoing drought has left the factories almost bankrupt.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Geneva conference on Afghanistan in September is important for the country so as to ensure continued support by the international community towards Afghanistan in years to come

The World Bank has said that the Geneva conference is important for continued aid to Afghanistan. Speaking to TOLOnews, World Bank country director for Afghanistan Shubham Chaudhuri said that at the conference, donors will assess the performance of the National Unity Government and its programs in order to boost Afghanistan’s economic situation in the future and to improve good governance. Meanwhile, officials of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said that the private sector in Afghanistan still faces serious challenges despite the NUG leaders’ commitments to the international community at the Brussels Summit to tackle their problems. “My understanding and I think this is where the Geneva Conference is really going to help with Afghanistan is kind of setting the stage in the next four years; offers an opportunity for the government to be in a conversation with its main international partners to talk partly, looking back at what has been accomplished in the last two to five years, but then to explain what are the plans for the next two to five years,” said Chawdhri.According to ACCI, the private sector and business community continue to grapple with serious problems in Afghanistan despite government’s pledges to help. ACCI said that insecurity, kidnappings for ransom, lack of infrastructure, shortcomings in the law and corruption in government institutions are among the top challenges the private sector faces. “The national unity government has to some extent cooperated with the private sector, but the main problems for the private sector have not been resolved so far, however, at most conferences, it is stated that security issues were being tackled and serious steps taken against corruption, laws have been amended, infrastructure has been established. But we are still facing around 11 to 12 problems and four main issues are related to security, corruption, lack of infrastructures and restricted laws,” said ACCI chief Khan Jan Alokozai. Previously Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan had called on the national unity government to take solid steps towards fighting corruption, ensure holding transparent elections and finalize the investment law in the country before the conference. The goal of the conference is to show the solidarity of the international community with the Afghan people and the government in their efforts for peace and prosperity; and for the Afghan government to renew its commitment to development and reform. This is a crucial moment for the government and international community to demonstrate progress, commitment and maintain the momentum for elections and opportunities for peace. The conference will also be an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the development and reform agenda and the need to advance it as a constructive contribution to peace and security. This particular conference will also be crucial in measuring results against the $15.2 billion committed by the international community for Afghanistan in 2016. The Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan will be held between two pledging conferences: the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan (2016) and the next pledging conference expected to be held in 2020.
>>> READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE @ HeartOfAsia.af

Proud to be the first-ever Italian national having registered an individual company in Afghanistan

Special thanks to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce
and the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan (ACCI).  

Afghanistan - Land acquisition problems along the planned route of TAPI gas pipeline

Officials of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project in the country said so far they have completed 45 percent of the land acquisition process of the project in five provinces. But the process is facing some problems. They said that an authoritative committee should be assigned to overcome the land acquisition problems along the planned route of the pipeline. “The acquisition of the land is a challenge because much of the land located on the route of the pipeline is privately owned. In some cases, the dispute over the land is referred to court,” said a legal advisor of TAPI in Afghanistan.
The TAPI gas pipeline project was inaugurated by the leaders of four countries at the beginning of 2016. The work on the Turkmenistan section of the project was completed in February 2016, and work on the Afghanistan section kicked off in Herat province in the west of the country. The project is very important to Afghanistan in terms of income, the economy and employment opportunities. The 1,814-kilometer gas pipeline will pass through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. At least 800 kilometers of the pipeline will pass through the territory of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s share from TAPI
Afghanistan is expected to earn about USD 400 million in transit duties annually from the project. According to the Office of the President of Afghanistan, TAPI project will create thousands of job opportunities. Afghanistan will annually get 500 million cubic meters of gas in the first 10 years. The amount will increase to one billion cubic meters of gas in the following ten years and 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas in the third 10 years after the completion of the project.

Other projects included in TAPI
The TAPI project was recently changed into a collective of other projects which will be implemented alongside this key initiative for Afghanistan.
-The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500 kilovolts Line (TAP-500) will transfer Turkmenistan’s electricity to Pakistan through Afghanistan. According to Ghani’s office, Afghanistan is expected to earn more than USD 100 million annually from the TAP project. Three substations will be established in Herat, Farah and Kandahar provinces.
-An optic fiber will also connect regional and neighboring countries under the TAPI project.
-Another major part of the project is the national and regional railway which connects Pakistan and Turkmenistan through Afghanistan.