Economy in Afghanistan

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Economy—overview: Afghanistan is an extremely poor landlocked country highly dependent on farming and livestock raising (sheep and goats). Economic considerations have played second fiddle to political and military upheavals during more than 18 years of war including the nearly 10-year Soviet military occupation (which ended 15 February 1989). During the war one-third of the population fled the country with Pakistan and Iran sheltering a combined peak of more than 6 million refugees. Now only 750 000 registered Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan and about 1.2 million in Iran. Another 1 million have probably moved into and around urban areas within Afghanistan. Gross domestic product has fallen substantially over the past 18 years because of the loss of labor and capital and the disruption of trade and transport. Much of the population continues to suffer from insufficient food clothing housing and medical care. Inflation remains a serious problem throughout the country with one estimate putting the rate at 240% in Kabul in 1996. Numerical data are likely to be either unavailable or unreliable.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$19.3 billion (1997 et0

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$800 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 53%

industry: 28.5%

services: 18.5% (1990)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 240% (1996 est.)

Labor force:

total: 7.1 million

by occupation: agriculture and animal husbandry 67.8% industry 10.2% construction 6.3% commerce 5.0% services and other 10.7% (1980 est.)

Unemployment rate: 8% (1995 est.)


revenues: $NA

expenditures: $NA including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: small-scale production of textiles soap furniture shoes fertilizer and cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas oil coal copper

Electricity—capacity: 494 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 655 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 37 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: wheat fruits nuts karakul pelts; wool mutton


total value: $80 million (1996 est.)

commodities: fruits and nuts handwoven carpets wool cotton hides and pelts precious and semi-precious gems

partners: FSU Pakistan Iran Germany India UK Belgium Luxembourg Czechoslovakia


total value: $150 million (1996 est.)

commodities: food and petroleum products; most consumer goods

partners: FSU Pakistan Iran Japan Singapore India South Korea Germany

Debt—external: $2.3 billion (March 1991 est.)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA; about $45 million in UN aid plus additional bilateral aid and aid in kind (1997)

note: US provided $450 million in bilateral assistance (1985-93); US continues to contribute to multilateral assistance through the UN programs of food aid immunization land mine removal and a wide range of aid to refugees and displaced persons

Currency: 1 afghani (AF) = 100 puls

Exchange rates: afghanis (Af) per US$1—17 000 (December 1996) 7 000 (January 1995) 1 900 (January 1994) 1 019 (March 1993) 850 (1991); note—these rates reflect the free market exchange rates rather than the official exchange rate which was fixed at 50.600 afghanis to the dollar until 1996 when it rose to 2 262.65 per dollar and finally became fixed again at 3 000.00 per dollar on April 1996

Fiscal year: 21 March—20 March

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