The United Nations calls Afghanistan’s economic collapse one of the worst crises in history

The United Nations predicts that Afghanistan’s gross domestic product will shrink by 20% within a year after the Taliban takes over the country. This is one of the worst economic collapses in history.

“[It’s] “We have never seen an economic contraction before,” said Abdullah Aldadari, head of the UNDP Afghanistan and former deputy prime minister of Syria. “I am comparing with countries such as Venezuela and Lebanon-we have not yet Seeing such a rapid and sudden drop. “

A report released by the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday stated that this contraction will take five years of civil war in Syria to be realized and is expected to deteriorate to 30% next year.

Despite nearly two decades of US-led aid and billions of dollars in aid, the sharp economic downturn has highlighted the fragility of the Afghan nation. The country is not strong enough to withstand the recent impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, drought According to the author of the report, as well as the acquisition of radical Islamic organizations.

The United Nations Development Program predicts that the per capita income of Afghanistan, which is already the poorest country in Asia, will drop from US$500 in 2020 to US$350 next year, up from a peak of US$650 a decade ago.

economy Used to rely on foreign aidAccording to UNDP, this accounts for 80% of budget expenditures.

Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves account for almost half of the country’s annual GDP of 20 billion U.S. dollars. Also frozen Soon after Islamists took over this year, it triggered a cash and liquidity crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have been owed several months of wages and hospitals are on the verge of bankruptcy. It is estimated that by next year, nine out of ten Afghans will be living below the poverty line.More than half of the 39 million population Need food assistance, About a quarter face “emergency” food insecurity and potential famine.

“Even in a very bad situation like Lebanon, they can still get some remittances from Lebanese expatriates,” said Adnan Mazarei, an economist at the Peterson Institute think tank and one of the authors of the report. ) Say. “As far as Venezuela is concerned, there is still oil. Afghanistan is almost of its own kind.

[In] Countries hit by natural disasters. .. It is possible to get rid of some of these problems,” Mazarei added. “It is not ready for Afghanistan. “

The authors of the report said that the crisis has become so entrenched that it is too late to avoid collapse, although measures such as unfreezing reserves and aid and providing cash transfers to households can help.

Professor Zafiris Tzannatos of the American University of Beirut said: “Even if assets are thawed and humanitarian assistance is doubled or tripled, it will not be enough to alleviate let alone avoid the crisis we see.” “Now we have fallen off the cliff. How much we provide, there is still a crisis that is sliding towards disaster.”

UNDP says that the Taliban’s own policies are exacerbating the collapse.

Group decision Restrict women’s work and education According to the report, this will bring serious economic costs. The United Nations Development Programme estimates that female unemployment can cause losses of up to $1 billion, accounting for 5% of GDP, and lead to a decline in productivity.

“If you don’t invest in the human capital of half the population… then you will be at a loss for many years to come,” Tzannatos said.

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