The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
Opinion

Enhanced economic ties with neighbors vital for Afghanistan’s economic challenges, says analysts

The "Friendship Bridge" runs across the Amu Darya River between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. The friendship bridge connects Mangusar, Uzbekistan and Hariatan, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo By Staff Sgt. Bradley Lail) (released)

Although the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan emphasizes establishing political ties with other countries, it has managed to facilitate trade with neighboring countries. To enhance commercial relations with neighboring countries and boost trade in various aspects, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has signed 13 contracts with the Afghanistan and Turkmenistan companies in Herat province. Economic analysts consider it a positive and helpful step in enhancing commercial relations with Turkmenistan. Signing such contracts will definitely positively impact the situation in Afghanistan if the trade ties with the neighboring countries are enhanced. “The urgency of establishing political and economic relations with each country cannot be overstated. This would not only benefit Afghanistan but also our neighboring countries, including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Turkmenistan, in particular, with its abundant energy resources and non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, presents a promising opportunity for mutually beneficial economic and commercial ties,” emphasized Khalil Ahmad Nadim, an economic analyst. Others point out that the trade agreements, such as those signed with Turkmen merchants in Herat, not only alleviate the economic problems of Afghans but also hold the promise of creating job opportunities for the country’s unemployed youth, fostering a sense of optimism about the potential for economic growth. “Employment opportunity projects can strengthen Afghanistan’s economy in the long term; however, they may not yield good results in the short term and immediately reduce unemployment. The Afghan government should regularly provide employment opportunities for the unemployed to eliminate this terrible unemployment situation,” said Mohammad Shakir Yaqoubi, an economic analyst. “Our country needs more agreements with its neighbors and other countries of the world, and economic relations need to be strengthened more. More agreements need to be made because our youth are unemployed, and the economy is not good; so with the development of economic relations, youth will also be employed, and the economy will grow,” Yaqoubi added. In general, criticism is directed towards the fact that after the Islamic Emirate takeover, people are facing economic difficulties, and they want the government to initiate major projects to provide job opportunities for unemployed youth. Furthermore, economic analysts believe that signing trade agreements with the neighboring country, particularly Turkmenistan, can indeed be in the interest of Afghanistan for several reasons: 1. Diversification of Trade Partnerships: Afghanistan historically relied heavily on trade routes that passed through Pakistan and Iran. However, signing trade agreements with Turkmenistan offers an opportunity to diversify trade routes and reduce dependency on any single country. This diversification can enhance Afghanistan’s economic resilience by mitigating risks associated with over-reliance on specific trade corridors. 2. Access to Resources and Markets**: Turkmenistan possesses significant natural resources, including natural gas and minerals. By signing trade agreements, Afghanistan may gain access to these resources, which could be crucial for its economic development. Additionally, increased trade can provide Afghan businesses with access to new markets for their products, potentially boosting exports and generating revenue. 3. Infrastructure Development**: Trade agreements often involve investments in infrastructure such as roads, railways, and ports to facilitate the movement of goods between countries. Improved infrastructure can enhance connectivity within Afghanistan and with its neighbors, reducing transportation costs and facilitating trade. This can stimulate economic growth and development, create job opportunities, and improve living standards for Afghan citizens. 4. Regional Integration and Stability: Enhanced trade ties with Turkmenistan can contribute to regional integration and stability. Trade agreements can promote peaceful relations between neighboring countries by fostering economic cooperation and interdependence. This is particularly important for Afghanistan, which has experienced decades of conflict and instability. Strengthening economic relations with Turkmenistan and other neighboring countries can contribute to building trust and promoting regional peace and security. 5. Development of Special Economic Zones: Trade agreements can facilitate the development of special economic zones (SEZs) along the AfghanistanTurkmenistan border. These zones can serve as hubs for trade, investment, and economic activities, attracting foreign investment and promoting economic growth in the region. SEZs can also create employment opportunities and contribute to poverty reduction by attracting industries and businesses to the area. 6. Cultural and People-toPeople Exchanges**: Increased trade can facilitate cultural and people-to-people exchanges between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. This can promote mutual understanding, tolerance, and cooperation, fostering a sense of community and shared prosperity among the people of both countries. However, it’s essential to ensure that such agreements are fair and mutually beneficial, taking into account Afghanistan’s economic capacity and development priorities. Additionally, the implementation of trade agreements should consider the needs and interests of all stakeholders, including local communities and businesses, to maximize their positive impact. Mukhtar Safi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.