Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Post 2014 Economic Growth Challenges

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Post 2014 Economic  Growth Challenges

It has been ten years that Afghanistan has been benefiting from the foreign aids. The international aid spent by international community during the last ten years has contributed to some progress in Afghanistan's economical and social infrastructures. But in comparison to the amount of money spent for re-stabilizing the infrastructures of the country, the development process has not been quite effective. Billions of dollars have been spent, but unfortunately very limited amount has reached the needy Afghan people.

Poverty in the country is still considered as one of the main reasons behind the instability in the country. "More urgency is needed in Afghanistan in order to increase effectiveness in the management of foreign aids, by both non-profit and non-governmental organization," the World Bank's President Robert Zoellick said. The statement clearly indicates that the assumption of Afghan National Security Forces responsibility for security by the end of 2014 will have a considerable impact on Afghanistan's economic growth.

The ongoing developmental activities are facing uncertainties, as the international community is getting ready to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Currently, Afghan National Security Forces (ANFS) are under exhaustive capacity building trainings so that they should gain the capabilities of creating a safe environment after the withdrawal of international forces from the region.

On the other hand, a question is being raised, "Will there be any guarantee of continuation for the current limited achievement in term of economical development or it will get even more ineffective?" This is the question that the time and security situation will answer by the end of 2014. Business markets are getting down day by day and no one dares to invest in the country due to the ambiguity which leads the economic growth towards instability.

The expected worsening of security will have a direct outcome on further development project implementations in Afghanistan. The areas such as central regions which have long been deprived of equal government fund distribution will face more discrimination and will receive less support from the government. Ultimately, Afghanistan is encountering many sorts of obstacles that will directly affect the economic growth.

There are some very major challenges that the government has been facing and expected that these problems will come across the economical growth cycle in the future. They are as following: 1. Most of the international aid agencies, due their failed development strategies have lost the creditability of spending money on Afghanistan. They will not be provided fund any more to invest on Afghanistan.

2. The base of economical infrastructure is damaged. The nation cannot tolerate the huge amount of money needed for maintaining the security stability. This matter is negatively threatening the economic stability, because the current economic development growth is totally dependent on foreign aids and military funds.

3. Afghan government does not have the capacity to extract the natural resources to overcome the economical crises gap by the end of 2014.
4. Corruption in government structure is another obstacle which has halted the system to an extent.

Despite all the challenges that Afghan government will be facing, security will be one of the main factors of concentration. If the Afghan National Security Forces fail to maintain the current security ratio; the infrastructure projects that are already completed such as, schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges will be in danger of being destroyed.

As it is estimated, Afghanistan owns billions of natural resources such as gold, iron, copper and gas. Security anxiety will hamper the ability to extract these minerals. There is a hope to overcome the economical crises by extracting the natural resources which relies on security situation. China's 3.5 billion USD bid on the Aynak Copper Mine is the potential example of the natural resources which form the base of economical infrastructure development in the country. However, most of these minerals are situated in insecure zones which is not that easy to be extracted.

In addition, as the insurgencies increase, the farmers in rural areas will once again face the anger of illegal opium trade. According to UN report in 2011, "There has been 61% rise in opium production this year compared with 2010." Due to the Tabilan's power in the regions, many Afghan families will reemerge farming opium. Opium trade is one of the sole sources of income for many Tabilan militants in southern regions. This will enable the Taliban militants to continue fighting against government.

The economical development infrastructures of Afghanistan will no doubt feature many challenges; however, in order to over the upcoming rivalries, the government and international community are advised to develop such financial strategies that the mistakes they committed during the last ten years should not be repeated:

1. More concentration and investment should be done on capacity building of Afghan National Security Forces such as, National Army and Nation Police.

2. Huge amount of the aids during the past ten years were spent by the donors and their sub-contractors which was not directly being audited and controlled by Afghan government. The post 2014 aids should directly be handed over to Afghan government so that the Afghan government should be authorized to spend the budget.

3. Afghan government along with the cooperation of international community should develop comprehensive administrative reform strategies and take serious action against corruption in government structures.
The upcoming years of post 2014 would be the most challenging age for Afghan government and Afghan National Security Forces to maintain the current ratio of peace and tranquility in the country.

We cannot approach to build any economical infrastructure development, unless we have eliminated the fundamental development resistances such as insecurity. Insecurities in the region have halted the system of government and private sectors and have negatively affected the economic growth.

Abbas Ali Sultani is the new emerging writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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