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Post-COVID-19 economic recovery

Though the coronavirus cases are slowly fading away and things getting to normal, the effects of the virus-induced pandemic are going to last longer and be problematic – as everything was reshaped worldwide, including Afghanistan. The Ministry of Public Health reported that seven positive cases were registered only in Kabul over the past 24 hours, taking the nation’s tally to 39,297. But the pandemic’s repercussions not only caused problems while it lasted but they are going to have a long-term impact and continue into the future. Just a case in point is the fact that even the media community was badly affected as media outlets have recently demanded financial support from the government and the international community after suffering financial losses due to the outbreak of coronavirus. In a recent report, the UN confirmed the coronavirus pandemic had negatively impacted all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Afghanistan. The report reveals that SDG1 (End Poverty) has deteriorated significantly since poverty rate rose from its pre-COVID-19 level of just under 55 percent to 72 percent. As the Afghan economy has experienced a setback unprecedented, an increase in bilateral trade with regional countries would be something that would make it somehow get on its feet. The UN report findings are input for policymakers as they inform them of the funding needs and potentials of selected post-COVID-19 economic recovery policy options available to the government of Afghanistan. These results of the report should be heeded by the Afghan government and the international/regional partners. As all countries were in the same boat through the pandemic, they are now dependent on each other more than ever. For countering the impact of COVID-19, they need to marshal resources and devise plans to make progress ahead jointly. The UN said if the cost of trade between Afghanistan and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries falls by 10%, Afghanistan’s GDP will rise by around 4% in 2020. This should be turned into a goal by Afghanistan and the immediate neighbors because they complement each other. Efforts should be made to increase the level of trade between the countries to go through the economic fallout of the pandemic. The results produced by the UN report should be backed by actions and proper policies should be made for setting each other’s economies on a sustainable development path – only which would save the day.

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