By: Shukria Kohistani
KABUL: The country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced a new chapter of investment with the European countries, saying in order to strengthen trade relations, the officials have attended a meeting in Prague, the capital city of Czech Republic.
At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlícek who is also Minister of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic, pledged continued cooperation with Afghanistan.
He said Afghanistan has good opportunities for investment and pointing to the reopening of new season of investment with the Afghan investors.
At the opening ceremony of a three-day meeting between Afghanistan and the Czech Republic, he said: “The Czech Republic supports the strengthening of trade and investment cooperation with Afghanistan considering the country’s strategic and geographical location and being as a bridge between Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has very good economic opportunities and all of this gives Afghanistan more potential to be a regional hub for global trade.”
Afghanistan has abundant natural resources that provides a good opportunity for Czech investors and that mines, agriculture and industry are among the sectors in which investors from both countries have shown interest to invest.
The Afghan cabinet is also seeking to encourage European investors to invest in Afghanistan and the delegation also pledged to provide facilities for both sides investment.
In addition to the Czech Republic, the authorities plan to expand economic ties with other European countries, said Nisar Ahmad Faizi Ghoryani, Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Ghoryani, who is now in Prague to attend the Afghanistan-Czech-Slovakia Economic and Investment Summit, told media that they wanted to set up a large warehouse in the Czech Republic for Afghan products so that could easily transfer to Europe and reach other markets.
“We are trying to increase the level of our exports from Afghanistan and we are trying to have a large warehouse for the Afghan products here and talk with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Czech Minister of Industry and Transport to provide appropriate places for the Afghan property, carpets, saffron, dried fruits and precious and semi-precious stones. Create a large warehouse and exhibition that can cover all of Europe,” he added.
Afghanistan exported about 1.5 million to the Czech Republic last year, but now the officials hope to increase trade between the two countries more than ever.
According to them, they were trying not to be left alone in the economic and investment sectors after the complete withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.
The efforts come after persistent insecurity has greatly reduced foreign investment in the country.
Despite the insecurity concerns tens of factories worth $100 million have gotten operational in the past three weeks, and that another 51 factories are expected to open soon, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, Afghan investors welcome new trade ad investments with the Czech Republic and say that if Afghanistan is at peace and stability, there are ways to grow trade between Afghanistan and other world countries and there will be no obstacles to investing in Afghanistan.
According to the officials, Afghanistan’s important export items, including carpets, dried fruits, precious and semi-precious stones, even traditional medicines, could be transported to this country and other regional countries through both air and ground corridors.
The Czech Republic is the only country that promised to reactivate the trolleybuses in the capital Kabul, but it has been several years since the setting of the plan.