Monday, September 16, 2013

The Value Of Developing Afghan Infrastructure

Afghanistan emerged from Taliban rule in 2002, a war-afflicted nation with deep social fractures. The emergence of a democratic system of governance was the first step on a journey which saw the economy explode in 2004, with substantial GDP growth beyond 20%. Over a decade on, the country is still recovering from the effects of the past. Its economy is still heavily dependent on agriculture, and to this day lacks many of the basic resources necessary for business and economic growth. This picture is changing. Afghanistan is experiencing an investment in infrastructure, both from private and state sectors, for the first time. People and organizations are driving forward projects that will make it easier for future generations to develop and improve their lives. Naturally, there are still obstacles to overcome. But the value in developing infrastructure in places like Afghanistan is further underlined by this example.
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 The move from basic infrastructure to increasing development has helped fuel economic growth in Afghanistan, and will continue to lay the groundwork for future generations to learn and prosper. Basics like workable, viable communications are being provided in public/private partnership, such as in the example of the Afghan Wireless Company. Without a consistent level of support from the private sector, the development of the country’s networks and systems would take much longer. However, with the right strategic partnerships forming every day, the future looks much more promising.

This has had untold value on the economic output of the country. From being an economy that relies heavily on agricultural and manual sectors, Afghanistan can now start to move into the higher value areas of manufacturing and services. As communications, roads and technologies improve, access to these systems is increasing, to the benefit of those attempting to establish and grow businesses in the country. Improving infrastructure also has a massive benefit for education, both at school age and beyond. This helps ensure that the workforce of tomorrow will be more skilled and more trained than the preceding generation, which itself will have a knock-on impact on living standards and economic growth. Without this infrastructure, the task of educating the population becomes much more difficult. This is an identifiable barrier to growth and prosperity, but through improving systems and technologies it is becoming increasingly viable.
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 Simply being able to connect to and use the Internet in a reliable way is a challenge without the right technological infrastructure. This is one of the infrastructural need in the under developed countries. However, this is improving by the day, and more ordinary Afghans are becoming able to log on for the first time, helping ensure a greater degree of connectivity with the wider world. Afghanistan has had its fair share of problems in the past, and its transition to a modern economy will be a slow and protracted one. However, given that the right systems are now in place, the prospects for near term growth are looking ever more attractive. While the move does require increasing investment from both state and corporate partners, the results make the investment in infrastructure extremely worthwhile.

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