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Afghanistan Economy

    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 two decades of war, including the nearly 10-year Soviet military occupation (which ended 15 February 1989). During that conflict 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 20 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. International aid can deal with only a fraction of the humanitarian problem, let alone promote economic development. Government efforts to encourage foreign investment have not worked. The economic situation did not improve in 1998. Numerical data are likely to be either unavailable or unreliable.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$20 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: NA%

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$800 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 53%
    industry: 28.5%
    services: 18.5% (1990)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 240% (1996 est.)

    Labor force: 7.1 million

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture and animal husbandry 67.8%, industry 10.2%, construction 6.3%, commerce 5%, services and other 10.7% (1980 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 8% (1995 est.)

    Budget:
    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—production: 540 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 35.19%
    hydro: 64.81%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 660 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996) (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 120 million kWh (1996)

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

    Exports: $80 million (1996 est.)

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

    Exports—partners: FSU, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, India, UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic

    Imports: $150 million (1996 est.)

    Imports—commodities: food and petroleum products; most consumer goods

    Imports—partners: FSU, Pakistan, Iran, Japan, Singapore, India, South Korea, Germany

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

    Economic aid—recipient: $214.6 million (1995); 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—4,750 (February 1999), 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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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)