An Assessment of the Current Situation

Afghanistan has tremendous natural resources and also a very vital need to generate reliable sources of revenue for state building and sustainable development. In the past decade there have been efforts to create a framework for this transition from resources to revenue, but unfortunately after ten years Afghans are still at the very first steps. To date, Afghanistan lacks a vision, roadmap, governance capability, and the business atmosphere necessary to support a successful mining sector.

Many problems and obstacles remain to be solved such as: illegal extraction and trade, corruption, lack of public awareness, security threats, lack of infrastructure, lack of access to finance, lack of insurance and guarantees for investments, and lack of vocational training for needed skills.

Each stakeholder in the Mining Sector has their own perspective, experience, will, interest, concern, strength, and weakness. Afghanistan currently lacks of a platform for these stakeholders to conduct multilateral discourse and reach consensus on the situation and creation of a shared vision of the needs of the country generally and each stakeholder specifically. The Government, Private Sector, Donors, CSOs, and Academia are currently acting as isolated islands, acting independently of each other.

Decisions and general policies have not been discussed and evaluated from different perspectives, and therefore there have been many mistakes made.  Where the right decision was made, there has been a lack of sustainability in following up and in implementation. Changes in the Governance leadership regularly result in a drastic change in policies as per the new leader’s desires or ideas – resulting in a lack of long-term planning and implementation, and creating a reactionary environment instead of a strategic one.

Additionally, the new interest of the international community, especially the United States, toward our mineral resources is making the situation more complicated and sensitive. Dealing with aggressive multinational firms successfully requires that we rectify many of our deficiencies deliberately and decisively.