by Wadsam | September 28, 2017 5:31 am
In an effort to strengthen commercial and economic ties between Afghanistan and India through trade and investment, the Governments of India and Afghanistan, along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), opened the first “Passage to Prosperity: India-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show”. The event brings together more than 200 representatives from Afghan companies and more than 800 Indian participants to forge new business connections and discuss potential investment opportunities.
The trade and investment show is designed for Afghan companies to showcase the best of Afghanistan’s Silk Road heritage, including an array of businesses offering fresh and dried fruit and nuts, spices, textiles, marble, gemstones, and carpets. In addition, businesses with innovative investment opportunities in clean energy, finance, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and health services, and education will be at the exhibition. During the three-day exhibition, participating Indian private sector businesses and organizations are expected to sign more than 40 letters of intent with Afghan partners to build new economic and private sector relationships.
Highlighting the importance of the bilateral engagements between both the countries, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Hon’ble Minister for Civil Aviation mentioned that both the nations need to consolidate their economic relations in consonance with their political, strategic, and most importantly historic relations”.
Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Government of Afghanistan said that the event illustrates the goals both Afghanistan and India to bring peace and prosperity to the region. The show reinforces the ambitious plans that were announced by two countries to stimulate trade and investment at the December 2016 Heart of Asia conference.
The Hon’ble Finance Minister of India, Shri Arun Jaitley expressed his immense satisfaction at such a large event being organised with the specific purpose of building trade and investment relations between India and Afghanistan. He also mentioned about India’s increased commitment towards Afghanistan and involvement in sectors like infrastructure, agriculture, industry, public health, education, human resource development, etc. in Afghanistan.
This initiative demonstrates the mutual U.S.-India collaboration and commitment to Afghanistan as reflected in a joint statement between the two country’s leaders in June. In addition, this event is a deliverable from the December 2016 Heart of Asia ministerial when Indian Prime Minister Modi and Afghan President Ghani announced ambitious plans to stimulate trade between the two countries. Prime Minister Modi described Afghanistan as a critical economic hub between Central and South Asia, including connecting Afghanistan directly to India through the establishment of an air transport corridor. President Ghani also set a target of increasing bilateral trade and investment to $10 billion in five years.
On the second day of the event, Shri Suresh Prabhu, the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry would be addressing the Plenary Session titled “Emerging India-Afghanistan Business Relationship”.
The Passage to Prosperity is the first in a series of events USAID is supporting in the coming years to rejuvenate the economic bonds Afghanistan shares with its Central and South Asia neighbors.
“The India-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show will promote reforms, attract buyers and investors, and adopt improved practices,” said U.S. Embassy Kabul Special Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Hugo Llorens. “Indian and Afghan businesses can also lead public-private stakeholder efforts to address constraints to trade competitiveness, capture opportunities to expand trade, demonstrate both countries’ productive potential to investors, and facilitate greater investment in the region.”
“Passage to Prosperity builds upon USAID’s efforts to revitalize Afghanistan’s private sector and reconnect the country with regional markets,” said U.S. Embassy New Delhi Chargé d’Affaires MaryKay Carlson. “A fundamental pillar of the President Trump’s South Asia Strategy calls for advancing the national security goals we share with Afghanistan by engaging with regional partners to support private sector-led economic growth. This exhibition is only the first step.”
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