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Election delays hurt Afghan business

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 - 01:49

As Afghanistan awaits the results of a presidential run-off, businesses in the capital Kabul are growing increasingly concerned. Hayley Platt looks at the longer term economic impact of the political uncertainty.

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They're operating as normal - for now - but the owner of this mango juice factory in Kabul is worried. Recent presidential elections failed to produce an outright winner. And the instability is having a big impact on business, says Haji Mohammad Hassan. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) OWNER OF KHAIBAR NASIRI MANGO JUICE FACTORY, HAJI MOHAMMAD HASSAN, SAYING: "People are concerned about their future. The cost of living has increased, joblessness has increased -- around 20-25 factories here in Kabul have been shut because there are no products and no markets to sell them in." Last month's elections should have marked the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history. But accusations of fraud and corruption have delayed the outcome, throwing the country into political deadlock. The longer it goes on, the deeper the consequences, says economic analyst Sayed Massoud Hashemi. (SOUNDBITE) ( Dari) ECONOMIC ANALYST, SAYED MASSOUD HASHEMI, SAYING: "There is a possibility that the international community and Western donors will reduce their funds or even stop them. If that were to happen, Afghanistan would get into a financial crisis and normal life might not return for decades." Afghanistan's economy is heavily dependent on foreign aid and revenue from opium production. Many of its business owners also stash their cash in nearby Dubai. 8 billion dollars is thought to be held there. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) OWNER OF KHAIBAR NASIRI MANGO JUICE FACTORY, HAJI MOHAMMAD HASSAN, SAYING: "Afghan businessmen are worried about their investments. Some are taking them out of the country, because they aren't confident about the countries future." Voters are choosing between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani. Neither achieved the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round. The fear now is if the outcome is too close, it could split the country along ethnic lines, throwing it back into civil war.

Election delays hurt Afghan business

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 - 01:49

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