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Counting the Cost
Cash flight out of Afghanistan
Will the country's economy collapse as billions in aid money leave the country along with international security forces?
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2012 17:16

There is a lot of concern about security in Afghanistan as international forces look to a 2014 drawdown.

But few have given any thought to an aid drawdown, one with the potential to collapse the Afghan economy.

Since 2001 donors have provided more than $52bn to Afghanistan. Barack Obama, the US president, has requested $12.8bn for the 2012 financial year alone, to equip and train Afghan forces.

Then there is declared money – about $4.6bn – which passed through Kabul's airport in suitcases last year, mostly to Dubai. The real figure could be much higher as Afghanistan has been the centre of a $68bn global opiate trade.

Afghanistan's central bank has now capped money leaving the country at $20,000, anything higher requires a bank transfer. But keeping track of all the money is a big problem, mostly because of corruption, or at the least, shady dealings.

Al Jazeera's James Bays spoke to Noorullah Delawari, the governor of Afghanistan's central bank, about what was being done to stop money leaving the country.

Entrepreneurship to US' rescue

What happened to the downfall of the US economy? Today, inflation is still low, the dollar is still the reserve currency of choice accounting for more than 60 per cent of stashed foreign currency, and robust demand for treasuries keeps borrowing costs at or near historic lows.

There has also been an oil and natural gas boom, spurred by a drilling technique called 'hydraulic fracking', which is a controversial boost to the economy. Imports accounted for only 44.8 per cent of oil consumption last year, the lowest share since 1995.

Then there is the technology sector, with Apple as the most valuable company in the world born out of the era of entrepreneurship and California garage startups. And now the so-called 'app economy', a business which did not exist five years ago but now accounts for close enough to half a million jobs across the US.

Cutting losses in Thailand

After the floods which cost Thailand billions of dollars in losses, companies are trying to ensure it will not happen again.

The country's industrial heartland is on alert ahead of the coming monsoon season.

The Southeast Asian country lost billions of dollars following months of flooding that ended up inundating factories and paralysing businesses.

After Lego, now it's BRICS

Leaders from five of the world's emerging economies will head to the Indian capital, New Delhi, for the latest so-called BRICS summit. The two-day meeting involves Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. They will be working towards closer co-operation and boosting trade relations and investment. Collectively, the BRICS represent around 40 per cent of the world's population and about 25 per cent of its economic output.

 

Counting the Cost can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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