Many countries in the world have stable economies just because they are blessed with natural resources, oil rich countries for instances. At times when certain countries have flourished economically just because of properly utilizing their gifted resources, there are also countries that are quite rich in natural resources but fall in the list of poorest nations of the world. One such country is Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has an agro-based economy where more than 70 percent people are engaged in agricultural sector.
As more people are connected to agriculture, it should have developed enough so that basic food needs of the country could have been covered through Afghan farmers. But at least in the last ten years the agriculture sector of Afghanistan has had no significant progress.
Major portion of our food needs are fulfilled by imports from neighboring and various other countries of the world. This has made Afghanistan a highly consuming country and the local production has been very low.
Government's lack of attention has caused the problems of the agriculture sector to linger and become manifold. 70 percent of population engaged in agricultural seems to be wastage of human resource of this country. The agricultural products of Afghanistan are not enough to meet its own needs. The country has only a few agricultural products to export to other countries.
Same is the condition with our industrial sector. Except some factories producing beverages, Afghanistan has no major industry that can have far reaching impact on our economy. The three decades of war and conflicts have completely destructed Afghanistan's industry.
After the fall of Taliban, all attempts to boost this sector have failed. One of the major causes for that is no proper electric power. Afghanistan still runs on imported electricity that can only be used for household purposes and not for industrial ones.
If Afghanistan is to get rid of economic vulnerability in short or medium term and create job opportunities of its masses, what is the way out? Economic experts maintain and emphasize that one sector that can change the fate of Afghanistan economy is its mineral deposits.
Studies have estimated the worth of Afghan minerals in several trillion dollars. This has changed the traditional view of Afghan economy which was majorly related to agriculture.
The Afghanistan mineral resources are deemed to change this country's status from 'very poor' to 'rich.' This is conceived that, the mining sector will create job opportunities more than the real needs of Afghans.
Although insecurity is considered the biggest obstacle for extraction of Afghan minerals, efforts are underway for extracting deposits located in comparatively secure provinces of Afghanistan like Bamyan.
Apart from the security concerns that keep away investors from the mining sector of Afghanistan, unprofessional extraction of minerals and their smuggling to other countries have been a great national loss. It is the responsibility of Ministry of Mines and Interior to protect the location where the natural deposits exist.
Unfortunately, so far there is no such activity that is aimed at preventing illegal extraction and smuggling of the natural resources of Afghanistan. For instance, there have been reports about illegal extractions from azurite mine in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan and the problem still persists but the government has failed to address it.
Afghanistan today is dependent on foreign economic aids for about 92 percent of its operations. But Afghanistan should not remain a burden on the shoulders of international community.
Afghanistan's under-utilized mineral resources are the future of hope for Afghanistan and can bring this country out of the severe economic troubles it is facing today. Therefore, not only strict security should be considered to these resources but also they should be extracted in a proper, transparent and effective way. This is the only way out for Afghanistan to flourish economically.