Experts commented that the solar year 1399 (March 2020 to March 2021) year was extremely bad for economic conditions in the country, saying that figures show that economic growth fell -5% from +3% and poverty and joblessness increased to unprecedented levels.
The year started with the coronavirus pandemic. Poverty increased to over 53% from 45%, and investment decreased to zero, according to analysts and official figures. Meanwhile, unemployment rates fell to 40% from 24% and people’s ability to buy goods hit record lows.
“There was a lack of electricity and security issues. These two problems hardly affected Afghanistan’s economy and industry,” said Mohammad Mohsin Amiri, an investor.
The coronavirus pandemic and the country’s political situation increased goods prices by 35% during the solar year 1399. The increased prices continued through the end of the year and were complicated after deadly fires in two key border towns in the west of Afghanistan.
But some representatives of the private sector said there were other reasons behind the economic challenges in 1399 besides the coronavirus and political issues.
“The complication and vagueness in the peace process, corruption and lack of electricity, goods trafficking and so on were the problems that we faced this year,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, the deputy head of the Afghanistan Chambers Federation.
Besides the issues around the country’s economy, the international community pledged $13 billion in aid for the next four years at the Geneva conference, but this amount was much less than previous pledges, which experts say will further challenge the Afghan economy.