- Special Pages
GENEVA: Afghanistan’s economy will easily survive after the withdrawal of US and other international troops next year, Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said yesterday.
“There will be an impact, no doubt about it, but... the departure of the (US) military will not lead to the collapse of our economy,” he reporters at the United Nations Office in Geneva.
Zakhilwal, who is set to give a lecture today on his country’s outlook after 2014, brushed aside concern that the corruption-hit economy could crumble following the drop in foreign funding once the troops have gone home.
The withdrawal “will bring down economic growth,” he acknowledged, but said that the country over the past decade had enjoyed double-digit growth.
After 2014, he said, growth had been projected to dip to about six percent.
“Six percent is not bad growth, and it certainly is not an economic collapse,” he said. In July, donor nations pledged $16 billion to prevent Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, from sliding back into turmoil after foreign combat troops leave.
Zakhilwal said that Afghanistan, which has been heavily dependent on aid, was intent upon moving towards self-reliance within the next decade.
He said that Afghanistan had an abundance of mineral resources, valued at more than $1 trillion by US experts, and it also produced high quality fruit such as pomegranates popular in India.
“The opportunities are abundant,” he said.
He announced a new partnership with the UN’s Institute for Training and Research to create a 12-month Executive Master Degree Programme for 20 professionals from his ministry. AFP