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Tuesday, 16 June, 2015, 15 : 30 PM [IST]

Afghanistan invites Indian investments in tourism, railways and other priority sectors

Sayed M Ahmadi, Economic Counsellor, Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi, has invited the Indian business community to invest in Afghanistan’s priority sectors such as transportation, railways, tourism, energy, telecom, information and communications technology, banking, and services. He was delivering the keynote address at a conference on ‘Afghanistan Reconnected: Businesses Take Action to Unlock Trade in the Region’, organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in partnership with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the EastWest Institute (EWI), in New Delhi. Ahmadi said Afghanistan offers vast investment opportunities to Indian businesses in various sectors, as per a release.

Speaking about the issues faced by Afghanistan, Ahmadi said that lack of infrastructure and skill development had emerged as critical obstacles in the rebuilding process of Afghanistan. The Afghan government was working towards resolving these issues, he said, adding that the government assured a safe, secure, and transparent regime to promote foreign investments in the country.

Jayant Prasad, Former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan and Nepal, said that India had primarily helped Afghanistan in building its public institutions. “A stable and secure Afghanistan is in the interest of India and the region. With democracy, inclusive growth, and social development, Afghanistan could well be on the path of economic development soon,” he stated.

There is need for people-to-people connectivity, besides tackling issues of corruption, enhancing transparency and accountability, and creating an enabling environment for attracting business to the country, Prasad opined. He added that India and Afghanistan are engaged in creating partnerships that conform the 21st century.

Vikram Sood, Adviser, ORF and Former Chief, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India, said that security and development are interdependent and unlocking the economic potential in and around Afghanistan is a prerequisite for stability. He added that India was helping in creating infrastructure in Afghanistan. “As the country had faced war and disaster for more than three decades, there does not seem to be any end in sight to the country's problems without coordinated efforts by the rest of the world, including in large measure, by the corporate sector,” he added.

Ambika Sharma, Joint Director General, FICCI, said the Federation has been working pro-actively with Afghanistan, both bilaterally and multilaterally, under the umbrella of SAARC and the Heart of Asia Process to harness Afghanistan’s potential as a possible driver of economic growth in the region. “Recently, during the visit of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, to India, FICCI formed a joint Chamber with Afghanistan to pave the way for a more structured and consolidated action plan to boost our economic ties,” she said.

In his welcome address Cameron Munter, CEO, EWI New York Center, USA and Former US Ambassador to Pakistan, said that Afghanistan was on its way to becoming a trade and transit hub, connecting the economies and energy resources of Greater Central Asia and beyond. For this, he added, four priority areas of cooperation - regional transport infrastructure; energy trade and transit; cross-border trade facilitation; and regional investment - were identified by private sector leaders, members of parliaments, and representatives of governments from the region.
 
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khalid 2015-06-17 01:01:37
Bring peace and Afghanistan will easily become the richest nation in the region.
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