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Omar Zakhilwal, finance minister of Afghanistan said the nation’s economy will benefit enormously from business presence of the Asian giants.
Zakhilwal was addressing a news briefing in Geneva.
Chinese and Indian firms have invested in iron ore and copper mining in Afghanistan.
This would buoy its economy after NATO troops withdraw in 2014, the country’s finance minister said.
A group of Indian companies which in 2011 won rights to mine iron-ore in Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, should invest $10 billion to $13 billion, and Chinese firms should commit $5 billion to $7 billion on the Aynak copper deposit in Logar province, Zakhilwal said.
Afghanistan’s GDP should grow 10 per cent this year, in line with the 10-12 per cent annual expansion over the past decade, and expand by 6 per cent next year, Zakhilwal said.
Referring to China and India, he said: “As we move forward beyond 2014, when international assistance comes down, of course we expect it will be substituted by the private sector ….We believe the involvement of the private sector and private investment certainly has a more lasting impact on our economy than even aid.”
China National Petroleum Corporation has started oil production in Afghanistan and should invest from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, Zakhilwal said.
Afghanistan signed a 25-year contract with China National Petroleum Corporation which includes a planned refinery, the first major oil production in the country.
Chinese firms are looking at untapped lithium deposits as well as projects involving hydropower, agriculture and construction.