Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Afghan emerald miners see no sparkle in foreign investment

KHENJ, AFGHANISTAN - Outside Kabul, where the city's cosmopolitan character dissipates into tribal communities cloistered by high mountain passes, "foreign" and "investment" are fighting words. There is a deeply rooted sense that foreigners have come to Afghanistan only for conquest, and that foreign investment is just a form of economic imperialism. --- Lacking the stability needed for businesses to take root, Afghanistan has instead developed an informal economy of traders, merchants, smugglers, and middlemen. "The conflict went on so long that it created a conflict-based economy, and that becomes hard to change even after the conflict ends," says William Byrd, an analyst at the World Bank.


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