President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said that Afghanistan’s economy is now linked with other Asian economies and that the implementation of a number of major projects, such as CASA-1000 and TAPI, will help promote the international community’s trust in Afghanistan.
The CASA-1000 project is a $1.16 billion USD project currently under construction that will allow for the export of surplus hydroelectricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan, while the TAPI project aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year through a proposed 1,814-kilometer pipeline from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
The president meanwhile made the remarks during the 20th meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) in Kabul, which was attended by representatives from 29 countries and donor institutions.
A number of delegates said that progress relating to reforms, the economy and war on corruption was satisfactory but that more work needed to be done. They did however say they would continue to help Afghanistan in the years to come.
At the session, Afghan government officials briefed delegates about a number of issues including government’s efforts to combat corruption, increase national revenue and implement reforms in government institutions.
“Our economies are now linked, they [Asian countries] are becoming our largest partner and their trust in us, whether it is CASA or TAPI or the railways, proves a remarkable change and orientation,” said Ghani.
The meeting was also attended by Abdullah Abdullah, the CEO of National Unity Government (NUG). In his closing speech he reiterated calls to the international community to continue backing Afghanistan in the economic sector and in the campaign against terrorism.
“Security problems still exist, until terrorist funding sources are wipped out and problems we face because of the trend are not tackled, the trend will create more problems,” said Abdullah.
In addition, a number of participants at the gathering said programs in place by the NUG would help with the implementation of promises made during last year’s summit in Brussels. However they called on the NUG leaders to do more.
At the summit, participants endorsed the ambitious reform agenda presented by the Afghan government and undertook to ensure continued international political and financial support for Afghanistan over the next four years.
The total sum committed by the international community was US$15.2 billion.
“The government, with our partnership, to focus on for the future like getting more, larger cases through the anti-corruption center and ensuring that corrupt senior officials are held to account as well,” said UK ambassador to Afghanistan Dominic Jeremy.
“The United States is and will remain Afghanistan’s largest foreign assistance partner on both security and development,” said U.S ambassador to Afghanistan Hugo Llorens.
Minister of finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi meanwhile said participants once again stressed the need for systematic action against corruption.
“The issue of corruption was raised at the meeting, combating corruption has been one of the commitments made by the Afghan government, but some good work has been done in this respect,” said Hakimi.
JCBM goals and objectives:
JCMB was established in accordance with an agreement between the Afghan government and the international community for overall strategic coordination on the implementation of the Afghanistan Compact endorsed at the London Conference in 2006.
JCMB provides a platform for strategic coordination, joint policy formulation and problem solving in Afghanistan.
It ensures the mutual accountability of the government and its development partners and is co-chaired by the Head of the Government Coordinating Committee (GCC) from the Afghan government and the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in UNAMA.