University of Central Asia and Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs host symposium on "Trade and Cooperation between Central Asia and Afghanistan"

KABUL, Afghanistan – The University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA) in cooperation with the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Institute of Diplomacy and Directorate-General for Economic Cooperation organized a symposium on “Trade Cooperation between Central Asia and Afghanistan” on 12 November 2012.

The symposium opened with remarks delivered by Mr. Aly Mawji, Diplomatic Representative, Aga Khan Development Network; Wahidullah Waisi, Director General of Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms. Shelley Whiting, Deputy Head of Mission, the Embassy of Canada in Afghanistan; and Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, Director General, UCA.

“UCA is delighted to work with the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Institute of Diplomacy and Directorate General for Economic Cooperation. The issue of expansion of trade between Afghanistan and Central Asia is important for regional stability,” said Dr Krawchenko.

Approximately 70 representatives of ministries and state committees, business associations as well as independent experts and members of the non-governmental sector participated in sessions covering: Trade Development Strategy to Achieve Economic Growth in Afghanistan; Promoting Trade between Afghanistan and Central Asia; Recommendations for Central Asia – Afghanistan Economic Relations; and Capacity Building in Trade Issues.

Wahidullah Waissi, emphasized the significance of this collaboration: “Central Asian countries and Afghanistan is one of the most immensely rich and diverse regions in the world. Our enhanced regional cooperation provides an opportunity to connect land locked energy rich Central Asia with warm water ports in Gulf countries and energy-hungry South Asia. It is timely to build on and enhance our synergies," he said.

The Symposium follows IPPA’s recent 10-day training held in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, on trade policy and negotiations for 60 civil servants from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. Led by top trade negotiations experts from Carleton University, Canada, the training covered topics ranging from trade economics, policy analysis and strategic options, trade barriers and tariff regimes, to international finance and international trade negotiation. Topics for the symposium were informed by issues identified by participants in the training including the importance of infrastructure development, small and medium enterprises, capacity building, integrating Afghanistan into the world economy and developing a tariff regime.

The training seminar and symposium were organized within the framework of a Regional Cooperation and Confidence Building (RCCB) project designed to strengthen the knowledge of public servants on current developments and dynamics of regional trade and economic cooperation between Central Asia and Afghanistan. The RCCB project is implemented by the University of Central Asia’s Institute for Public Policy and Administration with support from the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the Aga Khan Foundation, Canada (AKFC).