Economy of Afghanistan
The economy of Afghanistan has improved significantly since 2002 due to the infusion of billions of dollars in international assistance and investments, as well as remittances from Afghan expatriates. The help that came from expatriates and outside investments saw this significant increase when there was more political reliability after the fall of the many terrorist groups in the early 2000s such as the Taliban. The recent improvement is also due to dramatic improvements in agricultural production and the end of a four-year drought in most of the country.
The government of Afghanistan claims that the country holds up to $3 trillion in proven untapped mineral deposits, which could make it one of the richest mining regions on earth. However, due to the conflicts, it remains one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 175th on the United Nations' Human Development Index. The nation's GDP stands at about $34 billion with an exchange rate of $19.85 billion, and the GDP per capita is about $1,150.
About 35% of its population is unemployed and 36% live below the national poverty line, suffering from shortages of housing, clean drinking water, and electricity. The Karzai administration along with international donors have remained committed to improving access to these basic necessities by prioritizing infrastructure development, education, housing development, jobs programs, medical care, and economic reform. SectorsAgriculture and livestock
The Afghan economy has always been agricultural, despite the fact that only 12% of its total land is arable and about 6% is currently cultivated. Agriculture production is constrained by an almost total dependence on erratic winter snows and spring rains for water. Afghanistan is known for producing some of the finest fruits and vegetables, especially pomegranates, apricots, grapes, melons, and mulberries. Wheat and cereal production is Afghanistan's traditional agricultural mainstay.
The availability of land suitable for grazing has traditionally made animal husbandry an important part of the economy. Much of Afghanistan's livestock was removed from the country by early waves of refugees who fled to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. In 2001, the livestock population in Afghanistan had declined by about 40% since 1998. Trade and Industry
The current trade between Afghanistan and other countries is at US$5 billion a year. Afghanistan is endowed with a wealth of natural resources, including extensive deposits of natural gas, petroleum,coal, marble, gold, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semi-precious stones, and many rare earth elements. Geologists also found indications of abundant deposits of colored stones and gemstones, including emerald, ruby,sapphire, garnet, lapis, kunzite, spinel, tourmaline and peridot.
According to Afghanistan's Chamber of Commerce and Industries deputy head, Khan Jan Alokozai, about 500 shipping containers of trade goods enter Afghanistan via the Torkham and Wesh-Chaman border crossings on a daily basis. Tourism
Many tourists from around the world came to visit Afghanistan, including from neighboring Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, the Soviet Union, Europe, North America and other places. Most westerners feel that Afghanistan is too dangerous for them to tour but the Afghan expatriates and those particularly from the Muslim world do not see it that dangerous.
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