JavaScript Menu, DHTML Menu Powered By Milonic


Join our e-mail mailing
list and receive our
monthly newsletter free
of charge

News and Views

Afghan Legislators Participate in Free Market Seminars

While many in the Western world take free market economics as something of settled wisdom, policymakers in former Soviet republics have struggled since the end of the Cold War to adapt to a globalized world in which open markets and aggressive competition are the norm. Legislators in Afghanistan are facing these challenges as they attempt to re-build the economic foundations of their country.

As a Soviet satellite state, Afghanistan's economy was inspired by Soviet principles and many of its brightest students and important politicians studied economics in the Soviet Union. Three decades of war followed, leaving Afghanistan with little economy of which to speak, much less a class of trained workers, managers and policymakers adept at operating in an open, free economy.

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is trying to change that. In Kabul, CIPE has begun offering seminars on the basics of a free market system to members of Afghanistan’s Parliament. Through its subsidiary, the Afghan Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), CIPE is hoping to work with Afghanistan’s leaders on exploring and implementing free market principles in the country's developing economy. (CIPE offers a similar program for entrepreneurs called "Tashabos.")

According to CIPE's newsletter, around ten to fifteen legislators gather each week for seminars on such topics as supply and demand, opportunity costs, and customs and revenues. Legislator Dawood Hashimi from Nangahar Province commented, "We are interested to know more about customs, taxes, etc. And we need to know how factories and businesses can be started."

The program has already seen some success, but coordinators are hoping to increase attendance so as to reach a wider audience in the Afghan Parliament. "CIPE's hope is that the program will reinforce the linkages between healthy economics and democratic principles and create a more interactive discussion between policy makers and the business community," explains the CIPE newsletter.

In recent years, Afghanistan's economy has seen dramatic growth. In 2007, GDP reached $8.8 billion, having increased from $2.4 billion in 2002. And while growth for 2008/2009 is predicted to slow, it will still remain at a healthy 7.5 percent. Afghanistan is slowly establishing the foundations of a globalized free market economy, with major multinational corporations investing in the country (the mineral and telecommunications sectors have proven extremely attractive) and institutions such as the Afghanistan National Standards Authority, the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, or AISA, being established to better integrate Afghanistan into the global economy. In 2008, AISA was ranked the second best investment support agency during the World Investment Conference in Accra, Ghana.

Home | Contact Us | Sitemap © 2006 Embassy of Afghanistan and GlobeScope Inc. All Rights Reserved.