ABD pledges $400m to stimulate Afghan growth
KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan economic growth sharply tumbled in 2013, amid a 9.7 percent hike in food prices, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Wednesday, promising long-term support to the war-battered nation.
ABD country director in Afghanistan Joji Tokeshi told reporters in Kabul that the bank was committed to supporting Afghanistan.
He said Afghanistan economic growth reached 11.9 percent in 2012, but fell to 3.3 percent in 2013, with investments in the private sector declining from 4.9 percent to 3.6 percent.
The ABD official said there had been a 4.8 percent cut in rates of non-food items, but the overall inflation rate increased from 6.2 percent in 2012 to 7.4 percent in 2013.
Tokeshi said the Asian Development Bank had invested $3.8 billion in various sectors of Afghanistan since 2002 and vowed stepped-up efforts to reverse the declining economic growth in two years.
Linking the sharp decline in economic growth to dwindling foreign assistance and political pressures at home, the ABD official said the bank assisted Afghanistan with $585.1 million for infrastructure development projects such as ring roads, railway lines and electricity last year.
He said the ADB planned to donate $400 million to Afghanistan over the next two years and predicted 3.5 percent increase in Afghanistan gross domestic production in 2014 and 4.5 percent in 2015.
He said 2014 and 2015 were crucial years for Afghanistan and the Afghan government should focus more on developing the country’s natural resources.
He said some investors and donors were reluctant to invest and fund projects in Afghanistan, waiting for a clear picture to emerge from the ongoing political and security transitions.
Ministry of Economy spokesman Najibullah Amin said the economic growth fell after rumours that the country would face economic problems due to cut in foreign assistance.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.