Afghanistan at the heart of central Asian crossroads - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Afghanistan at the heart of central Asian crossroads

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  1. Afghanistan at the heart of central Asian crossroads UNCTAD Expert Meeting on Regional Cooperation in Transit Transport, 27-28 September 2007, Geneva

  2. Afghanistan - Transit Transport • Landlocked, least developed country, highly dependent on foreign aid, farming, and trade with neighboring countries • Population of about 30 million on some 650,000 km2 • Borders: Pakistan 2,430 km; Tajikistan 1,206 km; Iran 936 km; Turkmenistan 744 km; Uzbekistan 137 km; and China 76 km • Strategic geographic location for N, S, E and W transit

  3. Afghanistan – The land bridge

  4. Afghanistan – Transit trade • Turkmenistan to Pakistan – scrap metal • Iran to Pakistan – vehicle spare parts • Uzbekistan to Pakistan – cotton, scrap metal and iron rods • Tajikistan to Pakistan – scrap metal • Pakistan to Iran – wheat • Pakistan to Uzbekistan – cement • Pakistan accounts for 98 % of intraregional exports and 44 % of intraregional imports • 50 % of Afghanistan’s trade is with its neighbours, mostly imports

  5. Afghanistan – International trade • Most important export markets are Pakistan and India, followed by Japan and Russia - dried fruits, animal skins and carpets – accounting for some 2/3 of exports. • Exports of medical seeds, mostly licorice, account for roughly 9 % of exports • Fresh fruits account for around 5 % of exports, but growing fast, particularly fresh grapes


  6. Afghanistan – Regional Cooperation • Regional cooperation is becoming an integral part of globalisation strategies of most of its neighbours • Core importance of Afghanistan recognised as land bridge between energy-rich Central Asia and energy-deficient South Asia (but with large potential for manufactured exports) • Growing participation in regional cooperation arrangements and events

  7. Afghanistan – Transit Transport • Development of infrastructure to ensure direct and safe transit transport • Construction of ring road (2,237 km and link roads to provinces (1,000 km) nearing completion • Updating and renegotiation of bilateral transit and transport agreement • Legal reform • Modernising customs buildings and operations • Simplifying procedures and documentation • Strengthening private sector and partnerships

  8. Afghanistan – Transport Corridors

  9. Afghanistan – major bottlenecks • Inadequate border facilities and management • Below-standard vehicle conditions • Predominance of transhipment due to reluctance and interdiction of foreign trucks to operate in Afghanistan – high handling costs, long transit times and cargo damage and loss • Trucking cartels • Arbitrary check points, discriminatory and unjustified collection of fees, security factors

  10. Afghanistan - Progress • Restructuring of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, including transit and trade facilitation directorate in line with legitimate responsibilities of various agencies • Implementation and rollout of ASYCUDA ++ under the World Bank/UNCTAD Emergency Customs Modernization and Trade Facilitation project • Main Customs house in Kabul, Torkham /Jallalabad (Pakistan), and Islam Qala (Iran) are connected, including transit module • Updating and renegotiation of bilateral transit and transport agreements • Intensive training of freight forwarders plus drafting of relation legislation

  11. Afghanistan – Border posts

  12. Afghanistan - Progress • Reactivation of the TIR Convention under way • WTO accession under way – observer status since December 2004 • Creation of trade facilitation committee (AFPRO) • Public/private partnerships in border management, streamlining of operations • Better inter-ministerial cooperation on Customs, transit and transport issues

  13. Afghanistan - Solutions • No quick fixes available • Vestiges of obsolete and non-market systems still linger • Institutions and policy formation need strengthening • Political factors, diverse interests and inadequate technical standards and human resource capacity hamper implementation of bilateral agreements and regional arrangements • Afghanistan is committed to becoming an effective partner in solving regional transit transport problems.

  14. Thank you UNCTAD Expert Meeting on Regional Cooperation in Transit Transport, 27-28 September 2007, Geneva Hedayatullah Watanyar, Head, Directorate of Transit and Trade Facilitation, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Kabul, Afghanistan hwatanyar@commerce.gov.af