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Instability, drought may affect Afghan economic growth in 2018: ADB

Instability, drought may affect Afghan economic growth in 2018: ADB

KABUL: Afghanistan’s economy in 2018 is now projected to grow slower than the previous forecast due to the challenging security and political situations in the country and the impact of severe drought in the first half of the year, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

In an update of its flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018, ADB revised downward its forecast for Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in 2018 to 2.2%, a slight decrease from the previously forecasted 2.5%, as political uncertainty before parliamentary elections, worsening security, and a decrease in crop production due to the worst drought in decades show signs of limiting economic growth.

“The upcoming ministerial conference in Geneva is expected to renew international commitment to Afghanistan’s return to peace, development, and self-reliance,” said ADB Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan Ms. Shanny Campbell. “ADB has been Afghanistan’s leading partner in infrastructure and regional cooperation, and we will continue to work alongside the government to ensure ADB projects make an impact on reducing poverty and encouraging growth.”

Based on ADB’s forecast, the growth projection for 2019 will be 2.5% but with risks clearly on the downside. Both Iran and Pakistan, Afghanistan’s main trading partners, are expected to experience slower growth in 2019, and business investors are likely to stay on the sidelines before Afghanistan’s presidential election expected in April next year.