Afghanistan which packs over US $ 3 trillion in identified natural resources has issued an open call to Sri Lankan business sector to visit them, prospect and reap benefits. “I found out those Sri Lankan miners to be well skilled” said Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Sri Lanka Munir Ghiasy in Colombo.
Ambassador Ghiasy was addressing Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen during his courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen in Colombo.
“We have formulated new policies to open air corridors with several countries to boost trade of well-known Afghan products including dry fruits, knitted carpets and semi-precious stones. Also we have trillion dollar worth untapped metal, mineral such as iron, copper and gold as well as mining resources including oil and gas” said Ambassador Ghiasy.
“There are vast such untouched deposits. These resources have been building up for centuries. Huge demand is building up now to prospect them. But global multinational companies are costly. Therefore we are waiting to see the countries in this region and our neighbours entering Afghanistan to prospect them, rather than very costly global firms.”
“As a result we invite Sri Lankan businesses and firms to prospect in Afghanistan. If necessary Sri Lankan firms can comein first and just see the possibilities. At present, only a nominal level of bilateral trade takes place between the two countries. Sri Lanka can strengthen its trade and business cooperation with Afghanistan further.”
“Sri Lanka’s total trade with Afghanistan last year was less than US $ one million, at only US $ 820,000. And our exports were at $700,000; slightly increasing from US$ 630,000 of 2016,” said Minister Bathiudeen.
“Though our mechanised mining sector is small, our geological surveys and mines management is at advanced levels. Therefore your offer could be picked up by even non-mining corporates in Sri Lanka.”
Printed books, newspapers and other printing industry products, were Sri Lanka’s major exports in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (accounting for 68% out of total exports in 2017). Imports from Afghanistan were negligible.