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Ministers of Finance and Mines Visit Washington DC




Chargé d'Affaires M. Ashraf Haidari welcomed visiting Minister of Finance Omar Zakhliwal and Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani to Washington DC where he accompanied the two Ministers in their bilateral and multilateral meetings with the US Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce; USAID; the World Bank; IMF; and others during 30-September-October 3, 2010. In addition, the two Ministers have had a number of public speaking engagements and media interviews to highlight the achievements of their Ministries, in partnership with the international community, particularly the United States Government.


Minister of Finance Zakhliwal gave a talk on “Investment Opportunities and Perception of Corruption in Afghanistan” at an event co-sponsored by the US-Afghan Caucus and the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce at the US Congress yesterday, September 30, 2010. In attendance were senior Congressional staffers and business community, including Afghan-American businessmen, with whom Minister Zakhliwal and CEO and President of Afghan Investment Support Agency (AISA) Noorullah Delawari shared the hard efforts of the Afghan government to facilitate international, regional, and domestic investment in Afghanistan.


Minister Zakhliwal noted that corruption in Afghanistan had been continually reduced on an annual basis from 2002 through 2010. “While official corruption has decreased yearly in Afghanistan, the perception of uncontrolled corruption, propagated by media, has increased,” the Minister argued. He noted that in his own Ministry alone, more than 200 corrupt officials had been fired since he took over as Minister of Finance. But such positive anti-corruption progress in the Afghan government is hardly reported on, Minister Zakhliwal noted.


Meantime, Minister of Mines Shahrani discussed “Investment Opportunities in the Natural Resources Sector in Afghanistan” at an event co-hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan and the American University of Afghanistan at the U.S. Chamber’s headquarters in Washington.

Minister Shahrani highlighted the reforms his Ministry has undertaken in paving the way for international capital intensive investment in Afghanistan’s minerals, including copper, iron ore, lithium, natural gas, oil, gold, and others in the next 5 to 7 years. He firmly committed to the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to ensure full accountability for the revenues generated from the minerals, as well as their reinvestment in the overall reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.


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