UAE could be gateway to Afghan market

Dubai, January 22, 2006 - The last five years have witnessed a remarkable growth in Dubai's non-oil trade with Afghanistan. Dubai's total foreign non-oil trade with Afghanistan has doubled from Dh460 million in 2000 and reached Dh873 million in 2004, said Abdul Rahman G. Al Mutaiwee, director general of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at the 'Defining Trade and Investment Opportunities in Afghanistan Conference' which was launched yesterday at Emirates Towers Hotel.

Statistics reveal that Dubai's total imports from Afghanistan in 2004 reached Dh14.2 million, and Dubai's exports to Afghanistan in the same year hit Dh142.9 million, whereas Dubai's total re-exports to Afghanistan in 2004 reached Dh 715.8 million.

Al Mutaiwee added: "Afghanistan enjoys an economic potential and a considerable reservoir of mineral, gas and other resources that could be exploited by investors in the UAE, as well as the investment opportunities in agriculture, road network, building dams and power generating stations."

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori UAE Minister of Communications addressed the conference explaining the stability in Afghanistan and possible ways of cooperation between the two countries. He also said that as there are many Afghan businessmen in the country and the UAE could be the gateway to the Afghan market.

The conference, discussed investment opportunities in Afghanistan, Banking and Finance, Challenges and Opportunities. Several Afghan Ministers participated in the three panels as well as chief executive officers of major Afghan's companies.

The Afghan economy has been growing steadily since the past five years and the Afghan GDP increased by 9 per cent in 2004 and is expected to reach 14 per cent in 2005, according to Said Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to the US.

Mohammed Ibrahim, the president of ABC explained the role of the council in promoting commercial opportunities in Afghanistan through the active role of members of the council and also explained that Afghanistan is in rebuilding stage and have many opportunities in different economical sectors such as infrastructure and energy.