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Afghanistan vs. Uzbekistan

Economy

AfghanistanUzbekistan
Economy - overview

Prior to 2001, Afghanistan was an extremely poor, landlocked, and foreign aid-dependent country. Increased domestic economic activity occurred following the US-led invasion, as well as significant international economic development assistance. This increased activity expanded access to water, electricity, sanitation, education, and health services, and fostered consistent growth in government revenues since 2014. While international security forces have been drawing down since 2012, with much higher U.S. forces’ drawdowns occurring since 2017, economic progress continues, albeit uneven across sectors and key economic indicators. After recovering from the 2018 drought and growing 3.9% in 2019, political instability, expiring international financial commitments, and the COVID-19 pandemic have wrought significant adversity on the Afghan economy, with a projected 5% contraction.

Current political parties’ power-sharing agreement following the September 2019 presidential elections as well as ongoing Taliban attacks and peace talks have led to Afghan economic instability. This instability, coupled with expiring international grant and assistance, endangers recent fiscal gains and has led to more internally displaced persons. In November 2020, Afghanistan secured $12 billion in additional international aid for 2021-2025, much of which is conditional upon Taliban peace progress. Additionally, Afghanistan continues to experience influxes of repatriating Afghanis, mostly from Iran, significantly straining economic and security institutions.

Afghanistan’s trade deficit remains at approximately 31% of GDP and is highly dependent on financing through grants and aid. While Afghan agricultural growth remains consistent, recent industrial and services growth have been enormously impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and trade cessations. While trade with the People’s Republic of China has rapidly expanded in recent years, Afghanistan still relies heavily upon India and Pakistan as export partners but is more diverse in its import partners. Furthermore, Afghanistan still struggles to effectively enforce business contracts, facilitate easy tax collection, and enable greater international trade for domestic enterprises.

Current Afghan priorities focus on the following goals:

  • Securing international economic agreements, many of which are contingent on Taliban peace progress;
  • Increasing exports to $2 billion USD by 2023;
  • Continuing to expand government revenue collection;
  • Countering corruption and navigating challenges from the power-sharing agreement; and
  • Developing a strong private sector that can empower the economy.

Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in which 51% of the population lives in urban settlements; the agriculture-rich Fergana Valley, in which Uzbekistan’s eastern borders are situated, has been counted among the most densely populated parts of Central Asia. Since its independence in September 1991, the government has largely maintained its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production, prices, and access to foreign currency. Despite ongoing efforts to diversify crops, Uzbek agriculture remains largely centered on cotton; Uzbekistan is the world's fifth-largest cotton exporter and seventh-largest producer. Uzbekistan's growth has been driven primarily by state-led investments, and export of natural gas, gold, and cotton provides a significant share of foreign exchange earnings.

Recently, lower global commodity prices and economic slowdowns in neighboring Russia and China have hurt Uzbekistan's trade and investment and worsened its foreign currency shortage. Aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government is taking incremental steps to reform the business sector and address impediments to foreign investment in the country. Since the death of first President Islam KARIMOV and election of President Shavkat MIRZIYOYEV, emphasis on such initiatives and government efforts to improve the private sector have increased. In the past, Uzbek authorities accused US and other foreign companies operating in Uzbekistan of violating Uzbek laws and have frozen and seized their assets.

As a part of its economic reform efforts, the Uzbek Government is looking to expand opportunities for small and medium enterprises and prioritizes increasing foreign direct investment. In September 2017, the government devalued the official currency rate by almost 50% and announced the loosening of currency restrictions to eliminate the currency black market, increase access to hard currency, and boost investment.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$78.557 billion (2019 est.)

$75.6 billion (2018 est.)

$74.711 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$235.021 billion (2019 est.)

$222.634 billion (2018 est.)

$211.134 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate2.7% (2017 est.)

2.2% (2016 est.)

1% (2015 est.)
5.3% (2017 est.)

7.8% (2016 est.)

7.9% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,065 (2019 est.)

$2,034 (2018 est.)

$2,058 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$6,999 (2019 est.)

$6,755 (2018 est.)

$6,519 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 23% (2016 est.)

industry: 21.1% (2016 est.)

services: 55.9% (2016 est.)

note: data exclude opium production
agriculture: 17.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 33.7% (2017 est.)

services: 48.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line54.5% (2016 est.)14.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.8%

highest 10%: 24% (2008)
lowest 10%: 2.8%

highest 10%: 29.6% (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)5% (2017 est.)

4.4% (2016 est.)
12.5% (2017 est.)

8% (2016 est.)

note: official data; based on independent analysis of consumer prices, inflation reached 22% in 2012
Labor force8.478 million (2017 est.)13.273 million (2018 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 44.3%

industry: 18.1%

services: 37.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 25.9%

industry: 13.2%

services: 60.9% (2012 est.)
Unemployment rate23.9% (2017 est.)

22.6% (2016 est.)
5% (2017 est.)

5.1% (2016 est.)

note: official data; another 20% are underemployed
Distribution of family income - Gini index29.4 (2008)36.8 (2003)

44.7 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: 2.276 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 5.328 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 15.22 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 15.08 billion (2017 est.)
Industriessmall-scale production of bricks, textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, apparel, food products, non-alcoholic beverages, mineral water, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, coppertextiles, food processing, machine building, metallurgy, mining, hydrocarbon extraction, chemicals
Industrial production growth rate-1.9% (2016 est.)4.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, milk, grapes, vegetables, potatoes, watermelons, melons, rice, onions, applesmilk, wheat, potatoes, carrots/turnips, cotton, tomatoes, vegetables, grapes, onions, watermelons
Exports$784 million (2017 est.)

$614.2 million (2016 est.)

note: not including illicit exports or reexports
$11.48 billion (2017 est.)

$11.2 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesgold, grapes, opium, fruits and nuts, insect resins, cotton, handwoven carpets, soapstone, scrap metal (2019)gold, natural gas, cotton fibers, copper, ethylene polymers (2019)
Exports - partnersUnited Arab Emirates 45%, Pakistan 24%, India 22%, China 1% (2019)Switzerland 19%, United Kingdom 17%, Russia 15%, China 14%, Kazakhstan 9%, Turkey 8%, Kyrgyzstan 5% (2019)
Imports$7.616 billion (2017 est.)

$6.16 billion (2016 est.)
$11.42 billion (2017 est.)

$10.92 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditieswheat flours, broadcasting equipment, refined petroleum, rolled tobacco, aircraft parts, synthetic fabrics (2019)cars and vehicle parts, packaged medicines, refined petroleum, aircraft, construction vehicles (2019)
Imports - partnersUnited Arab Emirates 23%, Pakistan 17%, India 13%, China 9%, United States 9%, Uzbekistan 7%, Kazakhstan 6% (2019)China 23%, Russia 18%, South Korea 11%, Kazakhstan 9%, Turkey 6%, Germany 5% (2019)
Debt - external$284 million (FY10/11)$16.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$16.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesafghanis (AFA) per US dollar -

7.87 (2017 est.)

68.03 (2016 est.)

67.87 (2015)

61.14 (2014 est.)

57.25 (2013 est.)
Uzbekistani soum (UZS) per US dollar -

3,906.1 (2017 est.)

2,966.6 (2016 est.)

2,966.6 (2015 est.)

2,569.6 (2014 est.)

2,311.4 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year21 December - 20 Decembercalendar year
Public debt7% of GDP (2017 est.)

7.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
24.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

10.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.187 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$6.901 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$16 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$14 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance$1.014 billion (2017 est.)

$1.409 billion (2016 est.)
$1.713 billion (2017 est.)

$384 million (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$20.24 billion (2017 est.)$57.789 billion (2019 est.)
Taxes and other revenues11.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)31.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-15.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)0.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 81.6% (2016 est.)

government consumption: 12% (2016 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 17.2% (2016 est.)

investment in inventories: 30% (2016 est.)

exports of goods and services: 6.7% (2016 est.)

imports of goods and services: -47.6% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 59.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 16.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 25.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 19% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -20% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving22.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

25.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

21.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
40.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

41.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

36.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook