The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) said on Tuesday technical committees from the five nations involved in the Lapis Lazuli Route will meet soon to discuss challenges faced by each country in terms of rolling out the project.
The Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was signed in October last year between Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia and once implemented will become a key international trade and transport corridor that will directly connect Afghanistan to Europe.
Since the signing of the agreement, each country has now formed its technical task team. These task teams will come together soon to discuss the challenges each country is facing, the MoCI said.
“The technical committees can work on these issues (technical issues) to implement this agreement and connect Afghanistan to Europe in the closest way,” MoCI spokesman Musafir Quqandi said.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) meanwhile said the Lapis Lazuli Route will connect Afghanistan to European markets which will then have a positive impact on Afghanistan’s economy.
They asked government to do all it can to implement the agreement with the four nations.
“In Afghanistan there are issues such as roads, security and electricity that should be considered for implementation of this project,” ACCI financial deputy head Tawfiqullah Dawari said.
Economic experts also said the corridor will play a significant role in the growth of Afghanistan’s economy.
“This corridor can decrease Afghanistan's transit problems and also increase Afghanistan's trade volume with Europe,” economic affairs analyst Shoaib Rahimi said.
The Lapis Lazuli Route will start in Afghanistan’s northern Aqina port in Faryab province and Torghandi in western Herat province and will run through to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan.
From there it will cross the Caspian Sea and will link the Azerbaijani capital Baku to Tbilisi and Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti.
It will then connect with Kars in eastern Turkey before linking to Istanbul and Europe.
The Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and was signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.