UAE initiatives help drive Afghanistan's growth, says envoy
Abdul Farid Zikria, Afghanistan ambassador to the UAE.
Abu Dhabi - August 19 also marks the 271st year of establishment of Afghan state, which was formed in 1747 by King Ahmed Shah Durani.
The UAE is among the top 10 donors to Afghanistan and the humanitarian initiatives undertaken by the emirates are helping the country rebuild peace and prosperity, Afghanistan ambassador to the UAE Abdul Farid Zikria said. He was speaking to Khaleej Times on the occasion of the 99th Independence Day that fell on August 19.
August 19 also marks the 271st year of establishment of Afghan state, which was formed in 1747 by King Ahmed Shah Durani.
"The UAE has been supportive of the Afghan cause, both in terms of economic activities and the peace process. The country has been financing several infrastructural projects in the country, including a 3,000-apartment complex in the heart of Kabul," said Zikria. The complex - built at a cost of $200 million - was inaugurated three months ago. "It was funded by the Abu Dhabi Development Fund as a kind gesture from the UAE government," he added.
The envoy said since last 16 years, the UAE has been among the top ten donor countries in Afghanistan. "They have built many hospitals, schools and roads. And more importantly, our peace initiative has the backing of the UAE."
A UAE-built university in Afghanistan is also helping the cause of higher education in the country, and helping locals acquire vital expertise in various fields, pointed out Zikria.
"Sheikh Zayed University is one of the largest universities we have in the country. It is a blessing for our youngsters, and even students from other provinces are coming to Khost to pursue higher education," said the ambassador.
The university was established in 2000 but was shifted to a new campus in 2008. It has nine faculties, including computer science and medical science and a private radio station for students of journalism.
"Khost is one of the most prosperous provinces in Afghanistan, mainly due to the foreign money remittance from Afghani expatriates in the UAE. The city has seen unprecedented development in real estate and commercial sector over the years because of investments by expats. Around 60,000 to 70,000 of the total 120,000 Afghan expatriates in the UAE come from this province alone," said the ambassador.
Recently, the BRS Ventures - owned by UAE-based Indian businessman BR Shetty - signed an MoU with the Ministry of Public Health in Afghanistan, to take over the management of Sheikh Zayed Hospital (SZ Hospital) and Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital (WAK Hospital) and establish a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit in Kabul.