The United Nations Development Program released a new report on Afghanistan’s economic situation, saying that the already-declining licit Afghan economy lost nearly US$5 billion after August 2021 and is reversing “in 12 months what had taken 10 years to accumulate.”
The report is titled “One Year in Review: Afghanistan Since August 2021”.
Talking to a UN Press Conference, Kanni Wignaraja, the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, said that even before the “Taliban”, Afghanistan had a small economy of $20 billion.
“What was already a very small economy. If you think about pre-Taliban, it still was a $20 billion economy but then in a year though, lost about $5 billion,” she said.
Talking at the same conference, the UNDP representative in Afghanistan, Abdallah Al Dardari, said that humanitarian aid alone cannot solve the Afghan crisis.
“It cannot be dealt with by just providing humanitarian, despite the very importance of that humanitarian assistance, and therefore, livelihoods, creating jobs and even trying to recover local economies has been crucial. So we have been working with local communities through cash for work, microfinance technical assistance, local infrastructure development and so on, we have successfully created 560,000 temporary jobs,” he said.
The report said that the cost of a basket of essentials needed to avoid food poverty has meanwhile risen 35 percent, forcing poorer households to go deeper into debt or sell off assets just to survive. According to the report, nearly 700,000 jobs have vanished.
“Among jobs women have lost in government ministries and entities, more than 14,000 or 82 percent were in the Ministry of Education, following restrictions on girls’ education,” the report said.
“Afghanistan has experienced an economic implosion over the past 12 months and the UN’s strong, coordinated response to the crisis has proved critical in averting a catastrophe last winter. Building upon what worked last year including tailored efforts across multiple sectors to improve the livelihoods of more than half a million people, there is a pressing need to support further measures to prevent a deeper crisis," said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
The economists believe that the situation in Afghanistan will be worsen if the existing sanctions are not lifted.
“Until these restrictions are not lifted and Afghanistan is not recognized, the situation will be worsen and there is a possibility of human catastrophe,” said Abdul Naseer Rishtia, an economist.
“The exit of investment from Afghanistan over the last year is due to mistrust and the political as well as security situation in Afghanistan that also caused the liquidity crisis in the country,” said Seyar Qureshi, an economist.