Assistant Secretary Robert O. Blake, Jr. today said the New Silk Road promotes promote private sector investment in Afghanistan.
In his remarks at the Jamestown Foundation, Mr. Blake that all of Afghanistan’s neighbors and near-neighbors stand to benefit from an end to the insurgency, a political solution, and a transition to a sustainable economy in Afghanistan.
“The vision of a New Silk Road represents both an expansion and, to an important degree, a reworking of the original model. It builds upon that rich history and, in a frank acknowledgement of geographic reality, envisions ways in which a new network might facilitate an absolutely necessary job, that of embedding Afghanistan more firmly into its neighborhood and strengthening the web of economic and transit connections running throughout the region.” -Mr. Blake
He stressed that while improving roads, bridges, pipelines, and rail lines with available resources is important to facilitate economic linkages, Mr. Blake said the New Silk Road vision is not just about building new infrastructure.
Mr. Blake said the U.S. seeks to reduce barriers to trade across borders, open markets, and to also promote private sector investment in the region.
He noted that the New Silk Road vision is an integral part of supporting Afghanistan and its greater region. He stressed that if Afghanistan is firmly integrated into the economic life of the region, it will be better able to attract private investment, continue to develop and benefit from its vast mineral resources, and provide increasing economic opportunity for its people, men and women alike.
The recent Afghan and German effort to promote investment in Afghanistan’s mining sector is seen as “helpful.” The meeting in Brussels on October 26 with private sector firms, included significant participation from the United States.
He emphasized that the support of the private sector must be a critical component of any effort that aims to develop the markets that will form the bedrock of regional economic cooperation.