A group of at least 1,000 Afghan investors is preparing to travel to Lapis Lazuli member nations within the next two months to display the country’s products in multiple exhibitions in Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey – which are the members of the trade and transit route.
According to organizers of the event, the products include Afghan carpets, handicrafts as well as fresh and dry fruit.
Hafizullah Qul, an organizer of the Lapis Lazuli Convoy, a title given to the convoy of Afghan investors who will travel to the Lapis Lazuli member countries, said the event is deemed as a big opportunity to boost trade and transit through the route.
“We have solved the visa problem. We have discussed this with embassies of Turkey and Turkmenistan. We will discuss this with Georgia as well,” said Qul as he talked about the preparations for the journey.
“This was our hope. Afghan handicrafts are not known in some parts of the world. Now the opportunity has been created to introduce the Afghan handicrafts to the world,” said Samir, an Afghan investor.
A woman investor, Tamanna Shahpasandi, said women investors will also be given a chance to join the convoy and attend the exhibitions.
“We are supporting women. We will help them to improve their business and display their products at international exhibitions,” said Tamanna.
Turkmen carpets are among the Afghan products which will be displayed in the exhibition. Afghan investor said the carpets are sent to Turkey through the Afghanistan-Turkey air corridor, and from there, they are sent to Italy and Germany.
The Lapis Lazuli Corridor
The Lapis Lazuli Coeditor’s agreement was signed on November 15, 2017, and it was inaugurated in Afghanistan by President Ghani in December 2018.
The route is aimed at enhancing regional economic integration and trade-based connectivity between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.
The Lapis Lazuli Corridor begins from Aqina Port in northern Faryab province and Torghundi in western Herat province of Afghanistan.
It continues to Turkmenbashi port in Turkmenistan. After passing the Caspian Sea, the route continues on to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, and then connects onward to Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, as well as the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi.
Finally, the corridor connects to the cities of Kars and Istanbul, Turkey, at the entrance of Europe.
The name “Lapis Lazuli” is derived from the historic route that Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and other semiprecious stones were exported along, over 2,000 years ago, to the Caucasus, Russia, the Balkans, Europe, and North Africa.