x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

RAK to be base camp for Afghanistan reconstruction

The emirate plans to strengthen trade ties with Afghanistan, said Sheikh Salem bin Sultan, the chairman of the RAK Civil Aviation Authority.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // The emirate plans to strengthen trade ties with Afghanistan, said Sheikh Salem bin Sultan, the chairman of the RAK Civil Aviation Authority.

He was speaking to 250 ministers and investors from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US at an Afghanistan reconstruction summit yesterday. "We want to use Ras al Khaimah as a base for the companies who are rebuilding Afghanistan, for their passengers and for the workers who will be serving this mission," said Sheikh Salem.

Speakers at the summit called on economic investment to provide solutions for basic humanitarian needs. Pamir Patang, chief of staff of the Afghanistan ministry of commerce and industry, said there were plans to generate "a million new industrial jobs" in areas that include marble production, carpets, gemstone and jewellery, leather and metal production. "These opportunities are real and are being acted open now. From saffron to steal, Afghanistan is open to business," he said.

For its part, RAK International Airport plans to increase cargo and charter flights. "RAK is untapped with the greatest potential to put in place in the needed infrastructure. People can treat this as a medium to long-term posting," said Roland Blaney, the airport's chief executive

Afghanistan's economy has enjoyed eight years of double-digit growth thanks to a stronger legal framework, 100 per cent foreign ownership and a flat 20 per cent corporate tax rate, which has helped to attract investment.

azacharias@thenational.ae