Economy

Growth decelerated to 3.3% following stellar agriculture and growth performances in 2012. Afghan forces have assumed responsibility for security, and the withdrawal of international troops will be complete by the end of 2014. The decision on retaining a small number of international troops, largely for mentoring and logistical support, has been delayed until after the April presidential election. The outlook is for modest growth until uncertainties are resolved.

Economic performance

Evolving political and security uncertainties substantially affected nonagricultural economic activity in 2013. Growth in gross domestic product (GDP) excluding opium production is estimated to have declined to 3.3% in 2013, consistent with ADO 2013 projections, and was much lower than the 11.9% gain in 2012. The weaker performance reflects slow expansions in agriculture, industry, and services on the supply side, and in private consumption and investment on the demand side.

Selected Economic Indicators (%) -  Afghanistan 2014 2015
GDP Growth 3.5 4.5
Inflation 6.8 7.1
Current Account Balance (share of GDP) 1.7 1.2

Source: Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2014; ADB estimates.

Economic prospects

GDP is forecast to grow by 3.5% in 2014. This assumes subsiding political and security uncertainties, a smooth transfer of power to a new government following broadly accepted presidential and provincial council elections on 5 April 2014, and a signed Bilateral Security Agreement. Growth in agriculture is expected to be modest because current production is close to capacity. Expansion in industry and services should edge higher in the second half of the year as the policy direction of the new government becomes apparent and public confidence strengthens.

For 2015, GDP growth is estimated to accelerate to 4.5%, driven by higher consumer spending, private investment, and trend performance in agriculture. This post-transition outlook for growth rests on stable political and security conditions and high investor and consumer confidence.

Source: ADB. 2014. Asian Development Outlook 2014. Manila.

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