Indonesia, Afghanistan hold business dialog

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The governments of Indonesia and Afghanistan held a business dialog to discuss potential areas of investment and economic cooperation between the two countries.

“Indonesia, which is rich in natural resources, has the largest market in Southeast Asia. Indonesia can also become the gateway to countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Rosan Roeslani noted in his speech during the Indonesia-Afghanistan Business Dialog event here on Thursday.

The business dialog was attended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Afghan Ambassador to Indonesia Roya Rahmani, Indonesian Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartanto, and Indonesian Ambassador to Afghanistan Arief Rahman.

Roeslani revealed that Indonesia and Afghanistan have huge business potential.

Kadin recorded that the total value of bilateral trade in 2016 stood at US$16.25 million, a decline from $36.6 million recorded in 2015.

The drop in the value of bilateral trade was attributed to the lack of confidence and indirect trade.

“In addition to developing mutual trust and confidence among businesses as well as promoting direct trade, several efforts can be made to strengthen economic exchanges and business,” Roeslani remarked.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ghani offered an opportunity to Indonesia to utilize the position of Afghanistan to serve as a gateway to Central and South Asia.

Ghani pointed out that Afghanistan had developed several dry ports. These ports will become special economic zones to help manage the logistics for products that will be distributed both to Afghanistan and other countries in Central Asia.

“We can become a hub for Indonesia to gain entry into the market in Central Asia. Afghanistan also provides power transmission lines and gas pipelines for several countries in South Asia,” he noted.

President Ghani is on a two-day state visit to Indonesia on Apr 5-6.

President Ghani also visited the Presidential Palace to meet President Joko Widodo to discuss several areas of cooperation including in the fields of economy, social, and capacity building.

The president also plans to hold a discussion with Indonesian ulemas from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah at the Istiqlal Mosque.

Afghanistan is one of the first countries to have recognized Indonesias sovereignty, while the two nations had played an active role in ensuring the success of the Asia-Africa Conference in 1955.

Indonesia has contributed in the reconciliation process and development in Afghanistan by organizing training programs to increase capacity in the framework of the South-South cooperation, among others.

The Indonesian government has conducted 47 capacity building programs that were attended by 358 participants from Afghanistan.

Indonesia has been supporting Afghanistan through 47 programs to strengthen institutions and build the capacity of its human resources.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry and Nahdlatul Ulama have also cooperated to build an Indonesian Islamic Center in Kabul, which includes a mosque, medical clinic, library, and gathering place.

Source: Antara News