Afghanistan heading for 10 percent economic growth: ADB
KABUL: Afghanistan is heading for economic growth of more than 10 percent this year and next year, prodivded security improves, the Asian Development Bank said in a report released Monday.
In its Asian Development Outlook 2003 report, the bank said “annual economic growth in 2003-2004 could be well above 10 percent with inflation kept in reasonable check.” The bank did not give an official growth forecast “as economic statistics for the country are virtually non-existent.”
Achieving 10 percent growth “depends crucially on improving the security situation, the government’s commitment to sound economic management, and continued donor support for reconstruction,” it said in its annual look at economic trends in the Asia-Pacific region.
Nearly 18 months after the Taliban was toppled, remnants of the militia and its Al Qaeda allies continue to launch regular attacks on government and foreign targets. Two US servicemen were killed in a firefight Friday near the Pakistani border. President Hamid Karzai is also facing problems as he tries to extend the influence of the central government beyond Kabul to the provinces, which are still largely controlled by warlords and militias. The banks said strong growth would be supported by new inward investment, an influx of skills and entrepreneurship as large numbers of Afghans return to their country. Reconstruction activities should also provide a major boost to demand and increase business opportunities, it said. The bank estimated Afghanistan’s 2002 gross domestic product (GDP) at 4.4 billion dollars, with per capita GDP at just 170 dollars. —AFP