KABUL - The EUROMINES Conference - "Investment Opportunities & the Economic Future of Afghanistan' held in Brussels in the presence of representatives from twenty countries and more then forty international companies. In addition, it was attended by high-level Afghan Government officials, Dr. Omar Zakhilwal, Minister of Finance, Mr. Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Mines, Mr. Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Minister of Economy.
The European Union Special Representative and Head of Delegation to Afghanistan, Mr. Vygaudas Ušackas addressing the conference said" Afghanistan has the potential to become, a major transit route for Central and South Asia, retaking its place as the nexus of trade from the states of Central Asia to the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
There still exist numerous barriers in the way of attracting the needed flow of investment from foreign companies – especially European. Even more important than security, to many investors, is the assurance that their investments will be protected by an independent legal system which will enforce rule of law and protect them from arbitrary government actions as well as private actors' unlawful practices".
He also added that while the value of Afghanistan's mineral wealth was estimated at up to three trillion dollars, a strong private sector partnership was essential in order to make this resource more tangible.
Stressing the importance of regional economic partnership, the European Union has been closely involved in the establishment of a national railway authority, and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan, which represents the voice of the EU business community, enabling it to facilitate and participate in the development of Afghanistan's economy.
In addition, replying to a query raised by a member of the Press on the value of EU initiatives, Mr. Ušackas highlighted that the new competencies of the EU, post Lisbon Treaty, particularly in trade and investment protection allowed the Government of Afghanistan to negotiate political and economic cooperation agreements with one single counterpart instead of 27 separate ones. (PR)