Afghanistan signs deal to set up special economic zones
Country aims create a true free market for business and enterprises Daoud Sultanzoy (left), chairman, Afghanistan Airfield Economic Development Commission and Jason Blick, Chairman, Chord Group at the signing of MOU between Afghanistan and Chord Group to establish Special Economic Zones.
Dubai: The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chord Group to establish a series of Special Economic Zones in the country as part of the Afghanistan’s economic development plan.
The signing took place alongside a high-level private event in Dubai on late Tuesday for the ‘Commercialisation of Military Bases in Afghanistan’, and was attended by members of the Afghanistan Government, private sector investors, and international partners supporting the economic growth potential in Afghanistan.
Over the past 12 months since the election of the National Unity Government in September 2014, Afghanistan has implemented a vast array of vital reforms to enable the country to develop full economic independence.
Earlier this year, GoIRA established a Special Economic Zone Committee, to review how these tax and labour concessioned zones could be used to stimulate local employment and foreign direct investment.
“A Special Economic Zone allows us to create not just a managed but an optimised environment in Afghanistan to attract foreign investors into key sectors of our economy,” said Mohammad Daoud Sultanzoy, Chairman of Afghan Airfield Economic Development Commission (AAEDC).
He said that investment in these sectors in turn will transform other industries, creating direct and indirect local employment. It also simplifies the issuance of visas, customs and other processes required to bring specialist labour and equipment required for business operation within the SEZ.
A study carried out by Harakat, a non-profit Afghan-managed organisation tasked with improving Afghanistan’s business climate, concluded that the establishment of SEZs in Afghanistan would send “a signal to investors that the country is committed to supporting private sector development, and could encourage higher levels of foreign investment — in line with the conclusions of the London Conference on Afghanistan held in December 2014”.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Chord Group and the GoIRA represents an important step in realising the new economic vision for the country.
The Chord Group is one of the world’s largest special economic zone consultancies, with 22 offices across the world and 500 staff. The Group consults regularly to governments across the world including the US, Caribbean, Central America and China.
“Afghanistan is a country that we have always sought to invest in. Geographically, the shared borders and the strong agricultural base, along with the opportunity to modernise its national infrastructure, are good foundations for an effective SEZ that can have a long-term impact on a country,” said Jason Blick, the Chairman of the Chord Group.
The Chord Group is a turnkey provider of Special Economic Zones, and establishes, invests-in, develops and operates SEZ’s across the world.
“In order for Afghanistan to create a true free market for business and enterprise that provides a solid regulatory framework we sought out for industry leaders that can help guide us toward creating effective implementation plans. As such, I am pleased to report the recent relationship developed with The Chord Group to add value to AAEDC as we further our Invest Afghanistan campaign,” said Sultanzoy.