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Afghanistan hub of regional economic activity: Qayoum

Afghanistan hub of regional economic activity: Qayoum

Jan 13, 2016 - 10:56

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Afghanistaninfo-icon has the potential to become a hub of economic activity between South and Central Asia, a top Afghan official said on Tuesday.

The right level of investment, coupled with an imaginative approach, would go a long way in integrating the two great regions of the worldinfo-icon, President Ashraf Ghani’s aide said.

Dr. Mohammad Humayun Qayoum, chief advisor to the president on infrastructure, human capital and technology, said opportunities were waiting for the people and it was time for the region grab them with both hands.

Considered the architect of Ghani’s vision for the transformation decade, Qayoum was speaking on “Building Afghanistan’s Economy Through Regional Connectivity” at the Atlantic Council -- a top US think-tank.

“We really have a great opportunity where Afghanistan can connect South Asia with Central Asia. Afghanistan can play an important role in connecting the energy-rich Central Asia and energy-starved South Asia,” he said.

During the discussion moderated by James Cunningham, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, the advisor said:“Our hope is that we can bring in major impact in the specific areas.” He was responding to a question on CASA-1000.

On the importance of connectivity, Qayoum identified railways and energyas another area of importance. Rail-travel between South Asia and Europe could be reduced from six-nine months to six-seven days, he observed.

His country lacked the necessary capacity, but there were islands of excellence though, noted the official, who is currently in the US for talks on issues related to infrastructure.

 Referring to the TAPI project, he said it was sending a great signal that Afghanistan was open for business. Appropriate measures were being taken to make this a secure line, he added.


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