Afghanistan GDP Likely to Contract 20%: UNDP

Afghanistan GDP Likely to Contract 20%: UNDP

The UN Development Program reported that Afghanistan's GDP would likely contract by 20 percent to $16 billion from a 2020 nominal figure of $20 billion.  

“Annual per capita income had declined from US$650 in 2012 to US$508 in 2020 and is expected to drop precipitously to US$350 next year, the UNDP said in a report.  

The report also warned that a further decline to 30 percent ($14 billion) was possible if “urgent corrective” steps were not taken.  

“Five percent of GDP is lost when women face restrictions to work. Failing to invest in half of the country’s human capital–in girls’ education–will have dire socio-economic consequences for years to come,” the report said.  

In response to the report, the Islamic Emirate said that the presence of women would be significant in a bid to improve the economy of the country.  

“Soon, women’s presence will be expanded. I don’t think the economy of the country will face any challenge in this regard. Afghan women will be provided with better opportunities,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.  

“This new socio-economic assessment on Afghanistan estimates that restricting women from working could result in an immediate economic loss of up to US$1 billion – or up to five percent of the country’s GDP,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “Not only is this a loss the country can ill afford but we call on the de facto authorities to uphold the rights of women and girls, including the right to learn and to work.” 

This comes as a large number of women have recently lost their jobs for various reasons across the country.  

Wahid Shirzad was previously working at a saffron and honey shop but she is now jobless.  

“I previously had a good income. I could pay my rent and family’s expenses. But, unfortunately, I don’t have a good business now and it is difficult,” she said.  

Economists warned that the decline of GDP would affect the country in a variety of ways.  

“When we don’t have domestic products. It will increase the rate of unemployment. The trade balance will be negative- it means the rate of import will be higher than the rate of export,” said Erj Faqiri, an economist.