Afghanistan falls in the list of countries trapped in the vicious circle of poverty. It is estimated that around ¾ of all the Afghans in Afghanistan live below or slightly above the line of poverty. This makes them deprived of proper education, health facilities, good food and other basic necessities of life. Above all, their lives are posed to various sorts of serious social, economic and political threats. With the ouster of Taliban from Afghanistan in 2001, hopes for reconstruction of national infrastructures of Afghanistan including economy went high. But today, after almost a decade of international effort, this country is highly dependent on international aids.
There have been improvements, no doubt, in all sectors but those are not significant enough and the Afghan economy has not undergone any important positive change. Corruption, monkey business, insecurity and many other constraints are conceived key causes of little economic development of Afghanistan. Until and unless serious measures are in place for addressing the mentioned issues, Afghans are anticipated to remain extremely poor.
High dependency on international aids:
Almost all development projects in Afghanistan are executed by funds donated by foreign countries. Afghan government does not possess financial capability to fund the development works of the country and hardly covers 60 percent of its operational costs. The international funds have been poured in Afghanistan since the end of Taliban government. This still continues but how long?
Afghanistan should not remain an economic burden on the shoulders of the world and fundamental steps should have been taken to make Afghan economy start standing on its own feet. It has been anticipated that Afghanistan will need foreign financial assistance at least until 2023. But this target seems not to be achievable until and unless security conditions improve, more employment opportunities are created and more foreign and domestic investment is made.
Agriculture and Industrial Sectors:
Afghanistan has turned into a highly consuming country. Very little number of items is produced in Afghanistan that hardly fulfills the local needs of Afghanistan and cannot be considered for exports. Whereas, almost everything; basic necessities to luxuries goods, is imported from neighboring and other countries of the world. Domestic production, which was once significant and sufficient to fulfill much of country's needs, is now negligible. Fresh and dry fruits on agricultural part and hand woven carpets on industrial site are among the major exports of Afghanistan.
Despite having an agro-based economy, the agriculture sector has shown no prominent progress due to lack of proper planning in the last ten years. The Afghanistan industrial sector too, has remained under developed. It is quite appropriate to say that without having developed the agriculture and industrial sectors of Afghanistan, economic prosperity in short term would persist as a dream and we would remain dependent on imports from other countries. Such factors put our nation at high stakes, especially famine.
Hurdles to economic prosperity:
1-Lowest level of security is prevailing in Afghanistan, albeit military efforts by US led NATO and Afghan forces have been exerted. Intensification of bomb blasts, targeted killings, abductions and instability cause severe losses to the feeble Afghan economy and businessmen. Insecurity is not only the greatest hurdle for reconstruction and development works but also has kept local and foreign investments away from Afghan markets. Afghanistan is a country where every sector requires investment – mining, construction, energy, telecommunication, agriculture, transport, education to name only a few. But again insecurity is the biggest problem which has made Afghanistan a hard place for doing business.
2-Another great hindrance for economic development has been the deep-rooted corruption. Afghanistan has been put on the list of the most corrupt countries of the world. The Karzai administration and Western countries have been accusing each other for the existence of immense corruption in Afghanistan while the real issue gets worsened as both parties have not been giving any noteworthy attention aimed at resolving it.
3-Monkey business can be deemed another important obstacle for our economy not improving. More than 90 percent of opium is produced in Afghanistan which is beneficial for some people and detrimental for many others. The Afghan opium is believed to be used by Taliban as a major source to fund their operations. Drug trafficking forms the largest portion of monkey business in Afghanistan. The whole benefit goes to Taliban.
Mineral deposits, source of hope
Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources. These sources have remained underutilized for centuries. The worth of mineral resources of Afghanistan has been estimated between one to three trillion dollars. The mineral resources are the only hope for Afghans to come out of poverty. Provided the security improves, the mining sector is anticipated to create job opportunities beyond the needs of Afghanistan and would have positive impacts on the region.
Afghanistan should not remain an economic burden for the world. Afghanistan possesses high potentials for becoming economically self-reliant. The only need is to address the constraints and that is not possible without having a sincere and patriotic administration installed in Afghanistan.