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The post-American economy of Afghanistan: what will the country earn?

What is the economy of Afghanistan today, and what opportunities do its resources hide?

Didn’t you come out ultimately?

 We should immediately note that discussions about the prospects for the development of the economy of Afghanistan are possible if there is a stable political power throughout the country, the end of the civil war, and major military conflicts. Time will tell whether the Taliban will retain control, whether they will create a capable coalition government, overcome intertribal and religious differences.

The second point, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, does not mean that the American side has ceased to control the Afghan environment financially. 

The monetary and financial influence and the use of various instruments of “soft power,” apparently, will only increase.

What’s left? 

The economy of modern Afghanistan bears the features of a traditional agrarian society with a high share of crime and a low GDP per capita. In 2020, the percentage of agriculture in the country’s GDP was 24%. The presence of American troops and financial assistance from outside contributed to the development of the service sector, especially transport and communications.

However, the capital-intensive production and non-production infrastructure is a significant problem of a frequently belligerent country.

Backward agricultural technologies, arid climate, and mountainous terrain create food supply problems for more than 37 million people. The critical issue of the country is to regulate land use relations and displace opium poppy from the structure of crops, to create full-fledged designs of the agro-industrial complex. But are there any legal export positions in Afghanistan, according to which the country can already compete on world markets?

Yes, there is. In addition to opium poppy (heroin), the country grows a “golden” spice – saffron. According to Grand View Research forecasts, by 2027, the global demand for saffron will almost double. Saffron flower stigmas in the food industry and medicine (immunomodulator, anti-cancer properties) and cosmetics. Retail prices for 1 gram of dried saffron filaments (stigmas) vary by country and strongly depend on the quality and variety of the plant.

Currently, Afghanistan is one of the three world leaders in saffron production – about 6%. An essential tool for the development of the industry: the creation of cooperatives of individual peasant families, the formation of stable supply chains, and the advance of peasants’ labor.

In 2020, the excess of imports over exports amounted to $ 5.7 billion. In the export of goods, 66% for agricultural products; in imports-35%. The main trading partners will remain China, Pakistan, India, Iran, the United Arab Emirates.

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