Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chris Alexander misrepresents Afghanistan’s economic breakdown

Chris Alexander, Canada’s former ambassador in Afghanistan, paints a false picture of Afghanistan in the Globe and Mail on Saturday by suggesting that "Afghan society has recovered smartly since 2001." To bolster his point he mentions that despite the global recession, Afghanistan's GDP grew by 22%. This indeed is a gross misrepresentation of Afghanistan's economy and society, which have literally collapsed in the past decade.

image The Afghan economic outlook could not be any more bleak. The World Bank in April 2010 has reported that 90% of the Afghanistan's budget was externally financed. Furthermore, during 2008/09 foreign aid accounted for 47% of Afghanistan's economy, making it the one of the most aid dependent country in the world.

The World bank also noted that 75% of the foreign aid bypasses the Karzai government's budget system, making the government less legitimate and relevant to the Afghans.


Mr. Alexander also suggests that Afghanistan’s inflation “has been minus 12 percent.” This again is not only false, but poorly stated. By all accounts, inflation in Afghanistan has hovered around 30%, which has subjected poor Afghans, who make up the majority of the population, to extreme financial hardships. The recent estimates of a lower inflation does not apply to cities, such as Kabul, where ordinary Afghans can no longer afford to pay rents for even modest accommodation.

By suggesting that Afghanistan's economy is rapidly growing (which is also not factual), Mr. Alexander is in fact concealing the fact that the country is becoming increasingly dependent on charity, and on billions in debt forgiveness from the IMF.

Such misrepresentation of facts is tantamount to intellectual dishonesty, to say the least.

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