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    Delhi meeting to focus on investment in Afghanistan

    KABUL (PAN): The day-long conference on Afghanistan, scheduled to be held in New Delhi later this month, would discuss international private-sector investment in the impoverished Central Asian country, a foreign ministry official said on Sunday.

    India would host the meeting on June 28 to examine ways of boosting international private-sector investment in Afghanistan, Foreign ministry spokesman Janan Musazai told a media briefing in Kabul. The event will feature over 50 Afghan firms -- 10 of them owned by women. 

    The event is intended to inform the July 8 Tokyo Conference that will shape strategies for Afghanistan’s economic development. Delhi is helping reconstruct Afghanistan’s parliament, equip the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital and train students as farmers, tailors, plumbers, carpenters and welders. 

    “Some global firms that want to invest in Afghanistan are looking for good partners in the region, an issue that will figure at the Delhi conference,” he said, adding that a high-level delegation of the Afghan government would take part.

    Similarly, representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, rehabilitation and rural development, mines and agriculture would participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio-20" in Brazil on June-22, he announced

    More than 120 heads of the government and state are expected to attend the multilateral conference. Over 40,000 members of NGOs, academia, media, youth, environmentalists and social activists will also be in attendance.

    Musazai said the economic development of post-conflict countries, including Afghanistan, would come up for discussion at the meeting, which would also underline the need for economic balance among the world’s nations.

    He characterised Thursday’s Heart of Asia Conference in Kabul as an important event for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large. Nearly 29 regional and western countries and a dozen international agencies attended the gathering, a year after its inaugural meeting was held in Istanbul.

    The regional states had agreed on joint political consultations and continued cooperation with Afghanistan in line with the Istanbul process, the spokesman said. The war on terror, drug trafficking, trade ties and cooperation in education were identified as matters of common interest.

    Australia has pledged a $36 million increase in its annual assistance to Afghanistan after the completion of the security transition process in 2014, according to Musazai. Since 2001, Australian aid to Afghanistan amounts to $1.2 billion.

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