By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Afghanistan has sought the UAE’s help to digitize its logistics infrastructure in order to facilitate regional trade in its push to become a bridge between South and Central Asia and the Gulf. According to Emirates News Agency (WAM), Afghan Ambassador to the UAE Javid Ahmad said in an interview that Afghanistan has a “planned large-scale program on digitalization with the UAE, which would involve digitalization of our trade and logistics infrastructure.” He said Afghanistan is in talks with a UAE firm to look into the schematics of the country’s dry ports and customs ports to see how they can mainstream the customs revenue collection, WAM reported. “That’s very important for us, because an estimated 46 percent of our government revenues come from customs but the current system allows some loopholes for leakages, waste and misallocations,” Ahmad said. “We believe that if we want Afghanistan to be the land bridge between South and Central Asia, regional connectivity is important, especially as part of our own plan for economic growth,” he said. Afghanistan wants to extend its connectivity beyond South and Central Asia towards Arabian Gulf, particularly the UAE, through Port Qasim in Karachi, Pakistan and Chabahar Port in south-eastern Iran, he explained. “We need to get logistics revamped and we are engaged with the UAE firm to see whether they could come and study to completely reform and restructure it, which would also include technology transfer,” Ahmad told WAM. He said Afghanistan realizes the future is digital and said government was also working with the UAE to create a unified communication infrastructure network, especially for key government institutions. “That includes important technological support, for example, on data integration systems. We are engaging with the UAE on this and it is a flagship project,” he said. Ahmad also revealed that efforts are underway to establish a joint UAE-Afghanistan Business Council. He said other priority sectors included the bilateral economic agenda, agriculture and aviation sectors. The aviation sector is important “especially because the UAE’s three-company consortium is already managing four of our international airports. So now we’re looking to see how in the aviation sector UAE’s engagement could deepen to include, for example, building a passenger terminal, building a cargo terminal, as well as establishing a logistical and food processing zone,” the envoy explained.