ACCI representatives, Mr. Khan Jan ALokozay, Senior Vice-Chairman and Mr. Hashem Rasouli, Public Relation Director participated the International Forum 2015 “Silk Road Economic Belt Cities” on 17 – 19 June 2015 in Yiwu, China.
Acting Mayor of Kabul Mr. Wahid Abdul Ahad and Second Secretary of Afghanistan’s Embassy to China, Mr. Ahmad Tariq Noorzada also attended the conference.
Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China and Municipal People’s Government of Yiwu organized the International Forum.
The conference aimed to gather mayors of the economic and pivot cities along Silk Road, researchers, chambers and associations from 42 countries who will be benefiting the Silk Road Initiative, in Yiwu, Zhejiang province of P.R of China to discuss on the Silk Road Initiative in concept of “One Belt, One Road”.
Organizers of the conference provided a great discussion and networking opportunities for representatives of the countries to learn more about the Silk Road Initiative that was proposed by Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping in 2013, and is aimed at reviving the ancient trade routes that extent to Asia, Africa and Europe.
Key speakers of opening ceremony were Former President of Slovenia, Mr. TURK Danilo, Former Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. ZAPATERO Jose Luis Rodriguez and Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Mrs. FU Ying.
Participants then attended the six panel discussions simultaneously by two days. Forum I; focused on “Win-Win” Cooperation among Pivot Cities in International Trade. Forum II; focused on Senior Diplomatic Dialogue in Policy Communication and Coordination for Unimpeded Trade. Forum III; discussed on High Level Ideas Exchange about One Belt-One Road Concept and New Shape of International Trade. Forum IV; was about Logistics, Rail Line Supports Unimpeded Trade. Forum V; discussion among Leading Entrepreneurs. They discussed on Trade Opportunities and Future of the “Belt and Road”. And finally Forum VI; was Cross Border Finance Discussion and focused on Investment and Financial Cooperation.
ACCI delegation attended the Forums II and V. Mr. Alokozay delivered his speech at the Forum V and emphasized on historical and geopolitical position of Afghanistan in Central Asia “Heart of Asia”. He expressed that unfortunately, pivot position of Afghanistan in the Silk Road Initiative has been ignored. “You know that in spite of its pivotal location, Afghanistan has been off the Regional and International transportation grid for centuries and remains so today, but the current context of the global and regional developments indicates that the time has come for my country to retain its position as a major crossroad of cultures and goods between Asia and Europe.” He said.
He also said that today, most of Chinese and Indian exports are shipped by sea, while the continued growth of such exports has increased the demand for transcontinental road and rail shipping routes.
He made a few examples about current infrastructure projects are ongoing in Afghanistan, Mazar-e-Sharif, a major city and northern business hub of the country, is connected to the world by rail road. Another rail project that connects Herat province to Iran is about to finish and the third project which will connect Tajikistan with Turkmenistan thorough Afghanistan will be completed in 2015.
Mr. Alokozay spoke about the regional projects and role of Afghanistan on. “Another significant role of Afghanistan in the Euro-Asian Economic Development will be the transit of Energy. This significance stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea and South Asia. There are many potential projects, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is the most important energy project that will bear results in near future. Another example can be the CASA-1000, has been planned to move electricity at high voltages between the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (the first 477 kilometers) and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan (the next 750 kilometers).
Mr. Alokozay also invite international investors specially Chinese to invest in Afghanistan. He counted number of investment incentive policies that New Afghan Government has taken like five years tax exemption, 100 percent ownership properties, lowest tax among in the region and so on.To find out photos of the conference, please click here.