MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - As Afghanistan emerges from the decades-long conflict, its newly-elected President Ashraf Ghani is planning to tap into the country's mineral wealth to wean the government in Kabul off foreign aid that accounts about for two-thirds of the nation's revenues.
"The rich mineral resources in Afghanistan can transform the country into an industrial nation," Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank economist, said following his swearing-in.
"We broadly depend on imports and foreign assistance, and we aim to create a sound economic system for the country to stimulate exports and develop economy," he confessed.
Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, with a per capita gross national income of $470 a year, according to the World Bank. To combat poverty, the nation has to rely on its rich natural resources, estimated at more than $1 trillion. At present, some 60 percent of the country's economy is funded by Western donors.
But Afghanistan's reliance on natural resources in the climate of widespread corruption and weak central government can do more harm than good, according to International Business Times.
The United Nations reported earlier that Taliban insurgency in Helmand province has been heavily relying on illegal marble mining revenues, while in Kunar province chromite mines are funding local rebel groups.
Thus, better governance remains key to President Ghani's efforts to boost the nation's economy and reduce its addiction to foreign funds. This is just one of the major changes that the Ghani administration has to carry out in order to attract international investors to Afghanistan.
The president's announcement came a month after China's mining giant froze a billion-dollar deal with the Afghan government to develop a major copper mine of Mes Aynak, which is an archaeological site in Afghanistan's Logar province.