Afghanistan is a country rich in minerals and natural resources, including copper, iron ore, coal, and natural gas. Situated near some of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world, Afghanistan’s mineral and natural resources are of high strategic and economic importance to the country, offering unique opportunities for international investors in the mining and extractive industry sectors.
On September 29, Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani, Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal, and Noorullah Delawari, CEO of the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) participated in the Afghanistan Mining Investment and Business Opportunity Conference in New York City. Hosted by USAID, the conference promoted investment opportunities in Afghanistan’s mining sector, and enabled the Ministry of Mines (MoM) to develop business relationships with mining companies and collect information on potential investors for future minerals and hydrocarbon projects.
More than 100 participants attended the conference, including representatives from mining companies, investment banks, various governments, and the media. The conference provided up-to-date information about Afghan mining development opportunities, as well as specific details relating to the upcoming public tender for the Hajigak iron ore deposit, one of the largest unexploited iron ore deposits in Asia. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) has recently introduced significant anti-corruption measures and reforms to its legal and regulatory framework, designed to facilitate private sector investment and development of its mineral sector in an open and transparent manner, based on internationally recognized best practices. Presenters emphasized the GIRoA’s commitment to working with potential investors to extend political and legislative support for business investments in Afghanistan. The success of the conference is promising for generating investment in the mining industry in Afghanistan, and ultimately stimulating sector growth.
Through its Economic Growth and Governance Initiative, USAID assisted with the planning and facilitation of the conference, with additional support from the commercial section of the Afghanistan Embassy in the U.S., the U.S Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of State. Going forward, USAID will provide support to MoM to follow up on leads developed at the conference and will help facilitate the investment process for interested parties.