Afghanistan- A Country in Distress
Afghanistan, a country located in South Asia just east of Iran whose population is 28,513,677, is one of the countries that I chose to address. Their government is under Transitional Authority which is in a state of unrest as national elections would formally dissolve this system and adapt or establish the Government of Afghanistan under a new constitution. The country like others in the Middle East suffers from enormous poverty and a few other problems to include the lack of skilled and educated workers, which also has such a grave effect on most other countries. The lack of is more than likely what lies beneath the countrys poverty. If people arent educated or dont have the knowledge to perform certain tasks then this definitely causes a problem with employment issues.
Not only does the country have problems as these but they are also plagued by the crumbling infrastructure and land mines which hinder the expansion or opening of more companies, so there are definite geographical issues as well. One of the main economic concerns that I would like to make mention of is the poverty rate and problem with employment. Although the rate of unemployment is zero the lack of skilled and educated people could lead to possible unemployment as the job market calls for education and skill. With these factors in mind we think of the reasoning behind the poverty; if most of the labor force are uneducated and unskilled then the rate of pay isnt very much which leads to the poverty.
The economic outlook has made significant progress over the past few years and this is partly because of the ending of a four-year drought that hindered many crops, international assistance in the amount of over $2 billion dollars, and a remarkable recuperation in agricultural production. The agricultural workforce is made up of 80% of the countrys people while the other 20 percent works in services and industry. Even though unemployment doesnt exist, the country is still poor but hopes to see some significant progress and changes to offset the housing shortages, the lack of clean water, infrastructure reconstruction, jobs, education, and economic reform.
One third of the GDP comes from opium trade which fell to a low with the past drought but the replacement is well under way. The GDP rate is 29% but appears to be such a high amount because of past figures resulting from the drought and the impact of international assistance. The country exports opium, fruits and nuts, hand-woven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems and equals to about $98 million not counting the illicit trade of opium. The countrys import totals to around $1.1 billion which clearly shows that they spend more than they actually out. The imports are essentials and couldnt be eliminated or substituted as they are capital goods, food, textiles, and petroleum products.
The country is currently in a great state of deficit as their debt totals to $8 billion in bilateral debt, mostly to Russia and $500 million in debt to Multilateral Development Banks. The currency level has increased from 3000 per U.S. dollar in 1999-2001 to 50 per U.S. dollar.
Iran, another country with the problems of employment, also suffers from pretty much the same environmental issues as Afghanistan but appears to be a wealthier country than Afghanistan. Although there is an unemployment rate of 15.7% as of 2002 and there is a lack of skilled workers present as well, they are clearly in a better economic state than Afghanistan. 40% of the population lives below the poverty level while in Afghanistan only 23% lives below the level. The real GDP is a t a rate of 6.1% compared to the amount of 29% for Afghanistan. Their purchasing power is $478.2 billion as opposed to Afghanistans meager $20 billion, yet they still remain in a better state than Afghanistan.
The workforce for Iran consists of agriculture 30%, industry 25%, and services 45%. The amount of exports total to $29.88 billion and the imports $25.26 billion which helps the economy and puts them in much better shape than Afghanistan. If you are putting out more than you take in then you have a source of positive cash flow. Even though the country has some over $22 billion in foreign exchange reserves, the inflation and unemployment rates remains unchanged. Despite government attempts to achieve self-sufficiency the value of Iran’s imports continues to be high, with machinery and transport accounting for a considerable proportion. However, the huge income derived from the export of petroleum products had generally created a favorable balance of trade.
The trends that I have noticed may be because the countries are so close in location and are the environmental issues, the poverty factor, and the employment issues. Although Afghanistan doesnt have any unemployed and Iran does, the fact remains that the lack of educated and skilled workers contributes to the problems in both areas. This coupled with environmental issues has an adverse effect on the economy and thus creates a domino effect leading to poverty and other issues. All of this information is backed by statistical facts and is sited below on my cite page.
CIA-The World Fact Book. Updated September 21, 2004. Retrieved October 2, 2004 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/af.html#People