EU officials have pledged to support Afghanistan to take solid steps to standardize its business sector.
Lapis Lazuli Nations To Form Three Technical Working Groups
Officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) on Monday said that Afghanistan is fully prepared to create the technical working group to beef up efforts for the implementation of the project, adding that a meeting between representatives of the countries involved in the project will be convened soon.
Meanwhile, officials from the European Union (EU) have pledged to support Afghanistan to take solid steps to standardize its business sector according to regional and international standards.
“We are providing budget support direct to the government, so that government can decide what are the priorities, the security you mentioned definitely is a big issue in this country and we talk about the private sector, the private sector does not see the security issue as the number one problem, the problem is unfortunately corruption and bureaucracy,” said Maurizio Jean from the EU.
This comes two weeks after Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a major international trade and transport corridor deal known as Lapis Lazuli Route that will connect Afghanistan directly to Europe.
The Lapis Lazuli Corridor will begin in Afghanistan’s northern Aqina port in Faryab province and Torghandi in western Herat province and will run through to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan.
From there it will cross the Caspian Sea and will link the Azerbaijani capital Baku to Tbilisi and Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti.
It will then connect with Kars in eastern Turkey before linking to Istanbul and Europe.
Lapis Lazuli route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and was signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
With the creation of working groups, the host nations will be able to create a common system in the ports of the countries and it will also resolve visa issues for the business community and the drivers.
“The technical groups will help to resolve obstacles in the way of business and transit through Lapis Lazuli route,” said Mohammad Yahya Akhlaqi, head of the transit department of the ministry of commerce and industries.
According to the MoCI, after the finalization of the working groups, the process of exports of products from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Georgia start to European countries.
In addition, a number of economic experts have said that the implementation of the Lapis Lazuli route agreement will also pave the way for Afghanistan to get access to the world markets.
“Lapis Lazuli route has great importance for Afghanistan’s transit and commercial sectors, therefore government needs to use all these opportunities,” said economist Abdul Wase Danishyar.