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SOCIO-ECONOMIC OVERVIEW OF AFGHANISTAN

Socio-Economic Overview of Afghanistan
Afghanistan‘s economic growth has slowed but remains satisfactory levels to generate rising average standards of living. Real GDP growth is expected to close the fiscal year 2011-12 at 5.7 percent, down from 8.4 percent in 2010-11. The slowdown in growth was mainly due to weather-related condition which lowered agriculture output to below –average levels.
The economy this year (2012-2013) GDP growth-related to pick up again and is projected to reach 7.1 percent , favorable weather condition during the first quarter of the year resulted in good harvest season, which is likely to increase agricultural output.
The service sector will continue to account for about half economic growth for next year fueled by the growth in the telecommunication sector. In addition, donor funding and development projects will continue to drive the demand for transportation and distribution service.
Longer-term projections are less positive, aid levels are expected to decline significantly this will reduce GDP growth levels of 4 to 5 percent per year. A sizeable financing gap will continue to exist through 2012 despite projections of healthy growth in domestic revue collection. Afghanistan’s biggest economic challenge is finding sources of sustainable and equitable growth.
Education: in 2001 after the fall of Taliban, net enrollment was estimated at 43% for boys and a dismal 3% for girls. Moreover, there were only about 21,000 teachers (large under-educated) for a school-age population estimated at more than 5 million-or about 240 students for every marginally trained teacher.
Since 2002, school enrollment has increased from 1 million to 7.2 million children girls enrollment increased from 191,000 to more than 2, 71 million. More than 101,000 teacher qualifications and the overall access to equitable quality education in Afghanistan.
Health: according to recent data from Afghanistan mortality survey 2010 (AMS 2010) life expectancy at birth is at 64 years. Only 27% of Afghans have access to safe drinking water and 5% adequate sanitation, nevertheless there has been considerable progress over the last 9 years, about 85% of the population lives in districts which now have providers to deliver basic package of health facility (based on AMS 2010). Infant and under -5 mortality in 2010 has declined to 77 and 97 per 1,000 live birth respectively from 111 and 161 per 1,000 live births in 2008. The pregnancy-related mortality ratio is about 327 per 100,000 births, which means that every two hours a women dies in Afghanistan from pregnancy-related causes.
Access to electricity: the percentage of population with access to electricity in Afghanistan among the lowest in the world. The ministry of energy and water estimates that about 30% of Afghans have access to electricity from grid-based power, micro-hydro or solar panel stations. 
The situation has improved significantly in the major urban population centers along the critical north-east corridor between Mazar el-sharif and Kabul, following the importance  of power from Uzbekistan and the rehabilitation of three hydro plants (Mahipar and Sorobi completed and Nghlu ongoing) increasing parts of some urban centers, for example Kabul, Mazar-el-sharif, and Pul-e-khomri, now have a 24 hrs power supply for the first time in decades.
Revenue Collection: since the implementation of an Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), the collection of transit fees in major transit corridors in Afghanistan has improved customs revenues have soared from around $50 million in 2003 (SY 1382) to over US$ 1 billion in 2011-2012 an increase of around 2,000% in 8 years.
Approximately 90% percent of imports and exports are covered through automated processing, the waiting time for trucks at the major border crossings has also decreased. The Afghan Custom Department has started the process to carry out customs performance measurement at Torkhum, Hairatan and Kabul Inland Customs Depots, but still there are vigorous signs of corruption are overseen the local heads of the department are involved in corruption but supported by the ministers within the administration these custom offices allow chemicals used in narcotics an illegal drugs (poppy, morphine) and other type of most dangerous drugs even they allow explosives and ammunitions for the Taliban to later on they are used to attack coalition forces an Afghan security organizations the said Customs Department is doing just because of money purposes a long with that most of the staff are hired through private relation which has doubled the worsen situation within the system. 
Role of commercial banks in the economic development of Afghanistan: in country like Afghanistan which is still in the initial stages of economic development, a well organized banking system is the need of the day. There is acute shortage of capital in private banking sector of Afghanistan; the banks can play an important role in promoting capital formation, in controlling speculation in maintaining a balance between requirements and availabilities and directing physical resources into desired channels.
Commercial banks play an active and important role in the economic development of a country if the banking system in country is effective and disciplined; it brings about a rapid growth in the various sectors of economy but in Afghanistan a long side the in effectiveness of the banking system corruption and nepotism has played even negative role in the said sector  even worth the Afghan commercial and non-commercial banks are busy with money laundering for bulk money of the terror regime of Iran the worst case is most of such banks with such attitudes are openly supported by the President Karzai administration most blame even him that he is part of all these activities his family members are share holders of the said banks and these banks are established via mafia channels the money which invested are the output of drug dealing and seizing the public and private properties all in all mortified  the economy of Afghanistan, despite of the mentioned challenges the use of online banking is now increasing day by day, it has brought revolution in banking industry. The online banking which is the wave of future is now on the move in Afghanistan and progressing satisfactory to some extent. 
Some of the banks already stared providing ATM/MCS to the customers to develop e-banking such as online money transfer, shopping, ease of business and travel tours. 
Ajmal SOHAIL* - Contributor, Strategic Outlook
*Leader of the Afghan Liberal Party, 
*Socio-economic and socio-political commentator for Central-South Asia
21.08.2012 - Hit : 6004


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