In an effort to attract new investors and prevent current investments from leaving Afghanistan, a new package of incentives were announced today by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance, according to an AFP report.
Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan’s Minister of Finance told reporters that “the goal of this policy is to support investment in different sectors, especially in industry, construction, agriculture and mining”. The AFP reported stated that the incentives include providing land at almost no cost to industrialists, seven-year tax exemptions for factory owners, 10-year, low-interest loans for farmers, and one-year, multiple entry visas to foreign investors.
The new policies will remain in place for two and half years, the AFP reported added.
ï»¿Yesterday construction started on a road from Pul-e-Sokhta to the Darulaman area in the sixth precinct of Kabul. The project will cost $11 million and will be funded by Turkey. It is expected to be completed in 10 months. – Ariana News
South Korea signed an agreement with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) on Monday to support the building of an efficient transport system for Kabul city. The project will start post-2014 and is estimated to cost $1 billion. – Tolo News
Two power transformers were inaugurated in Kabul’s Khairkhana area on Monday. This will provide 1000 families with electricity. Officials from the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) power company said that almost all residents will have electricity in the next 2 years. DABS is planning on investing 2 billion Afs to expand electricity networks to all areas in Kabul. – Shamshad TV
An official from Afghanistan’s National Museum said on Thursday that the traveling Bactrian Treasures of Afghanistan exhibit has earned the country $3.5 million. The treasures which consists of 231 types of historical objects, including 3,000 sculptures have been seen by more than 3 million people in various different countries over the past 7 years. – Pajhwok
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that they will launch a $200 million program to boost the role of women in Afghanistan. Furthermore, with international support such as Australia, Japan, and the European Union, that number could be doubled, according to USAID. The program is called “Promote” and will help women between the ages of 18 to 30 find jobs, provide training for those interested in policymaking, and provide credit and microfinance to support women entrepreneurs. According to an USAID representative, the program wants to create more than 3500 small businesses to help generate domestic growth. Since the overthrow of the Taliban, while things are still far from perfect, life for most women have dramatically improved. They now have the right to vote, work, get an education, and even participate in politics.
Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that an official from Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktika said that forty-six school building will be constructed during the current year in the province. The buildings will be constructed at a cost of $11 million, per the PAN report. Funding from the project will come from the ministries of education, counter-narcotics and finance. Paktika’s provincial governor, Mohibullah Samim told PAN that the buildings are being built specifically for schools in which the students are currently studying in the open air or under tents.
In other education news, five buildings for schools in Herat and Logar provinces will also be built this year, according to a PAN report last week. The buildings in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat are being built in the Farsi, Kuhansan, and Pashtun Zarghon districts. The project is expected to be completed in six months. Finally, in Afghanistan’s central Logar province, the two buildings will be built in Pul-e Alam, Logar’s capital. The project is expected to be completed in five months.
The government of Japan will purchase 106 road construction vehicles and equipment worth $30 million to help Afghanistan maintain its main highways, according to a report today from Khaama Press. The equipment, which will also include snow clearing machines will go to the Afghan Pubic Works Ministry. The snow clearing machines will be very helpful in keeping the Bamiyan-Daikundi and Ghazni-Ghor highways open during the winter months. These roads are typically closed due to the heavy snowfalls. Japan’s generous offer will also help to resolve issues at the Salang Tunnel, where dozen of people die every year due to accidents because of the heavy snowfall. According the report, the government of Japan has so far invested $4 billion towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan. They have helped build numerous roads and schools in Afghanistan since 2001.
ï»¿ï»¿Afghanistan’s national cricket team today defeated Nepal by 7 wickets in the final match to win the 2013 ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Twenty20 Cup, which was held in Nepal. This is the the fourth time that Afghanistan has won this tournament. A total of 10 team from Asia participated in this yearâ€™s tournament. The teams were divided into 2 groups. Group A consisted of Hong Kong, Nepal, Malaysia, Maldives, and Singapore. Group B consisted of Afghanistan, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.
After defeating Hong Kong in the semifinals, Afghanistan went up against host country Nepal in the final match of the tournament. Afghanistan won the coin toss, but chose to field, and let Nepal bat first. They kept Nepal at 135 runs. When they got up to bat, they easily reached the target with 7 wickets remaining. Afghanistan’s 22 year old Gulbadin Naib was chosen as the player of the match for scoring 43 runs (not out) in the game. The young players on the team really played a big role in ensuring victory for Afghanistan, according to the Afghan coaches. This means that the future of Afghan cricket is very bright.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has agreed to grant Afghanistan’s education ministry with $68.5 million, according to a report yesterday from Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN). Per the report, under the agreement signed in Kabul, 2,270 schools will be built in Afghanistan’s rural areas to pave the way to provide education to 555,000 Afghan children. According to Afghanistan’s Education Minister, Farooq Wardak, the ministry will also arrange clean water and print textbooks for schoolchildren.
PAN had also reported last week Â that the Ministry of Education has pledged to reconstruct buildings and boundary walls for 56 schools in central Maidan Wardark province. The ministry will also establish 2 agricultural high schools, per PAN. The cost of this project is estimated to be $400,000 and the work is scheduled to be completed this year.
CBS news report shows how the extraordinary national park in Afghanistan is changing life there for the better.
ï»¿ï»¿An inauguration ceremony was held today in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar for a newly constructed building for the Syed Jamaludin Afghan University, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) has reported. The project to build the 2-story building was funded by the Minister of Higher Education at a cost $550,000, Kunar’s provincial governor, Syed Fazlullah Wahidi, told PAN.
In other good news, PAN also reported yesterday that 2 bridges over the Harirod River were inaugurated in the Daulatyar district of Afghanistan’s western province of Ghor. The 36 and 21-meter bridges will serve thousands of families and reduce the amount of time people will need to bring their products to the local market, thus increasing economic activity. On resident told PAN that before the bridges, they had to travel dozens of kilometers towards the south to cross the river.
ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿Yesterday, the Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou came to Afghanistan to meet with Afghanistan’s Minister of Water and Energy Mohammad Ismael Khan. The two ministers attended an inauguration ceremony on Sunday for two newly operational Iranian-made electrical turbines, as well held talks to further expand ties between the neighboring countries. The new turbines have the power generation capacities of 25 megawatts. Khan describe his meeting with his Iranian counterpart as positive and constructive. Today, the two signed an agreement in which Iran has agreed to increase power supply to Herat and Nimroz provinces. Iran currently exports 90 megawatts of electricity to Herat per hour and 10 megawatts to Nimroz. Under the agreement, the power supplied to Herat will be increased by 50 megawatts and there will be a 14 megawatts increase to Nimroz. Khan also said that Iran has agreed to export 50 to 100 megawatts of electricity to Farah province. According to Afghan media reports, a joint technical team was expected to visit the province for a survey. Besides the United States and Japan, Iran is one of the most important donors to Afghanistan towards the reconstruction of the country. Iran has built roads, power transmission lines, border stations, and is still involved in many other infrastructure projects
ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿Yesterday, the government of Japan donated 8 snow-clearing machines to Afghanistan, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) said. According to a Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) report, the machines are worth $1.6 million. The report added that 6 of the machines will be used to clear the Salang Pass of snow and the rest will be allocated to Afghanistan’s western province of Ghor.
Earlier this month, PAN reported that Japan will give Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Heath (MoPH) $13.5 million to help eradicate polio and prevent other epidemic diseases. According to the PAN report, the money will be paid in a year, and it will be spent through the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s Minister of Public Heath, Dr. Suraya Dalil signed an agreement to the effect with Japanâ€™s Ambassador Hiroshi Takahashi and Peter Croly, the UNICEF chief in Afghanistan.
Japan has been one of Afghanistan’s biggest contributors towards the reconstruction and development of the country.
An Afghan official told the Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) today that nearly 240 projects benefiting 87,000 families have been completed in Afghanistan’s northern province of Takhar this year. The projects completed include such things as the graveling of 154 km of road, construction of 600 small bridges, laying of 9 km of water supply pipes, implementation of 573 potable water wells, building of 17 small power dams, 127 canals, 39 community centers, and protective walls. The projects were implemented at a cost of $1.8 million in the Farkhar, Wersj, Kalfagan, Rustaq, Chah Aab, Khwaja Ghar, Baharak and Namak Aab districts, as well as in the provincial capital, Taloqan.
In other development news, Afghanistan’s Bakhtar News Agency (BNA) reported last week that 14 new school buildings have officially been opened in Afghanistan’s northern province of Badakhshan. The BNA report stated that the schools were constructed in the Shuhada, Warduj, Baharak, Darayim, Keran wa Menjan, Nasi, Jurm, and Zebak districts. It took one year to build the school buildings. This is good news for a province in which out of the 702 schools it has, 200 do not have buildings, and the students have to study under tents.