USAID, in conjunction with the Government of Afghanistan, is actively supporting export-driven economic growth across a wide range of sectors. Empowering the private sector to comply with international export best practices to include product standards and quality will help open regional and international market opportunities. Improving scalability to meet product demand will allow Afghan exporters to enhance their competitiveness, market access, and brand recognition. Gaining both regional and domestic market share will generate new businesses and jobs. Sustainable economic growth in the long term is critical for Afghanistan to achieve political security, self-reliance, and overall economic stability. USAID aligned its FY 2019 to FY 2023 Country Development Cooperation Strategy with the Afghan Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s goal of increasing exports to $2 billion by 2023.
- Afghanistan is showing strong progress with exports, increasing from $596 million in 2016 to an estimated $1 billion in 2018.
- Air cargo exports have more than doubled, from over 1,970 tons in 2016 to more than 5,000 tons in 2018, with the total value of goods jumping from nearly $250 million in 2016 to over $500 million in 2018.
- Following the successful launch of the first air corridor in June 2017, the Government of Afghanistan continued to open more air corridors with other countries to showcase additional Afghan exports to the world. As of December 2018, the Afghanistan’s National Air Corridor Program facilitated the export of goods to India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, European Union, Kazakhstan, and the United Arab Emirates.
- USAID sponsored the Passage to Prosperity (P2P) International Trade and Investment Shows. The first two P2P events took place in New Delhi and Mumbai in September 2017 and September 2018, respectively. At these events Indian and Afghan businesses negotiated almost $600 million in confirmed and pre-contract agreements.
- Working closely with the Government of Afghanistan, an export Customs One-Stop-Shop was launched at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in January 2018.
- USAID is providing legal and policy advice to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and other government entities to create a regulatory environment that will attract foreign investment in Afghanistan’s mining sector.
Job Creation and Private Sector Competitiveness
USAID targets the rising unemployment problem through a multi-pronged approach that supports export value chain service providers, promotes new businesses, creates jobs, and encourages youth entrepreneurship.
Export Processing Zones and Export Facilitation
USAID, over the next five years, will focus on addressing the challenges of exporting by developing export processing zones and air cargo facilities; establishing Customs One-Stop Shops for exports and imports; expanding new flight routes for air cargo; implementing World Trade Organization airport-related post-accession requirements; and generating investment and jobs by providing firm-level assistance to export-oriented business.
Policy Reform and Strategic Management
USAID is providing technical assistance, in the form of launching U.S. government interagency partnerships that are focused on strengthening the enabling environment policies that support the private sector (e.g., commercial laws and policies to support mining and telecommunications).