Misconceptions about sanctions hinder trade in Afghanistan, says NRC

A report commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has found that over-compliance and misconceptions about the scope of international sanctions on Afghanistan are creating significant obstacles for the country’s business community. 

The report was released on Wednesday.

The report has been prepared by conducting in-depth interviews with Afghanistan businesspeople and other private sector stakeholders. The report urges the international community to increase awareness about the impact of sanctions and recommends specific measures to be taken to address the unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“Humanitarian aid alone cannot meet the needs of the millions of Afghans who have lost their jobs and been forced to take on huge debts and sell their possessions just to be able to buy food needed for survival,” said Neil Turner, NRC’s country director in Afghanistan. “We must reverse this devastating economic disaster. A stable economy, thriving private sector, and the reintroduction of development programs are important to complement the work of humanitarian organizations.”

Despite banks being largely exempt from sanctions, access to financial services for Afghan citizens remains limited.

According to report the Taliban’s stance towards women has also led to the loss of many women from the Afghan workforce. These restrictions pose substantial challenges to the Afghan people and the economic prospects of the country as well as serious practical and ethical dilemmas for international donors and aid agencies.

The NRC said that major governments, financial institutions, UN agencies, and pertinent regional entities should urgently come together to establish strategies aimed at stabilizing and supporting the country’s economy.

NRC’s country director suggests that “concrete steps must be agreed to address the barriers faced by Afghanistan private sector, including challenges in accessing financial services. It’s also vital that mechanisms are stepped-up to provide technical assistance to the Afghanistan Central Bank to support its resumption of core functions that are critical to support the economy, private sector actors, and the Afghan people.”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *