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Afghanistan: Economic Situation

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his estimate is of (a) economic growth, (b) employment levels and (c) average wages in Afghanistan; what such figures were in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. (166058)

The UK Government do not make their own formal assessment of economic growth, employment levels and average wages in Afghanistan, but use data from surveys and analysis carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and international agencies. Because data quality on Afghanistan is poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.

The Afghan economy has grown by between 40 per cent. and 70 per cent. since 2002, driven primarily by high aid inflows and the opium economy. These high growth rates are a result of the economy’s low starting base and are expected to drop to around 7 per cent. over the next five years.

According to UN estimates, the current overall unemployment rate in Afghanistan is around 32 per cent. The rate for marginalized groups such as women and the disabled is much higher.

Annual labour market data quality in Afghanistan is very poor but improving. The average wage for an Afghan worker is currently around $375 a year, based on GDP and population figures in the UNDP Human Development Report 2007.