Afghanistan: Socio-Economic Outlook 2021-2022


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Afghanistan: Socio-Economic Outlook 2021-2022

December 1, 2021

Already the poorest country in Asia, Afghanistan’s economic base has long been too small to support its population of 40 million. Annual per capita income had declined from US$650 in 2012 to US$508 in 2020 and is expected to drop precipitously to US$350 next year.

The report indicates that the country’s GDP is likely to contract by 20 percent to US$16 billion from a 2020 nominal figure of US$20 billion. The report warns that a further decline to 30 percent or to US$14 billion is possible if urgent corrective action is not taken.

Five percent of GDP is lost when women face restrictions to work. Failing to invest in half of the country’s human capital–in girls’ education–will have dire socio-economic consequences for years to come. The report calls for all available local resources to be mobilized, including female aid workers whose deployment is severely restricted in most provinces.

The economic modeling undertaken jointly by UNDP and independent economists indicates that with falling incomes and a growing population, it could take US$2 billion just to lift the incomes of all people in extreme poverty up to the poverty line.