Afghanistan

Afghanistan Economic Update, October 2012

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Abstract

Afghanistan is in a state of transition which involves the handover of security responsibilities from international forces to the Afghan government. However, at present, Afghanistan's economy is growing strongly as a result of an exceptionally good harvest... See More + Afghanistan is in a state of transition which involves the handover of security responsibilities from international forces to the Afghan government. However, at present, Afghanistan's economy is growing strongly as a result of an exceptionally good harvest this year. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth will most likely close the calendar year at 10 percent, a significant increase from last year's 5.8 percent. The services and construction sectors continue to grow strongly, driven mostly by continued high military spending and external aid. The good harvest has also brought Afghanistan to near food self-sufficiency and slowed inflation to 4.6 percent in July 2012 (y-o-y). Progress in the mining sector is clouded by uncertainty about a new mineral law. While investor interest in the sector is encouraging, gaps in the legal and regulatory framework of the sector do not provide sufficient confidence to investors to start operations or make firm commitments. A new low is in preparation but has also been heavily debated. Afghanistan's economic growth prospects for 2012 give cause for optimism. Although real GDP growth slowed, to around 7 percent in 2011 (from 8 percent the year before), due mainly to unfavorable weather and a poor harvest, the agriculture sector rebounded strongly in 2012 and is expected to boost economic growth to over 10 percent. Agriculture is an important but volatile component of economic growth.