KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left for the UAE on Sunday for talks with leaders of the Gulf state and to sign memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for bilateral engagements in sectors including mining, energy and agriculture.
Since assuming power more than four years ago, Ghani has been trying to forge closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Coinciding with Ghani’s visit to UAE, the Afghan Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs said that Afghanistan will send some 2,000 vocational laborers to the UAE as part of a pilot project in coming weeks.
The UAE has become a commercial hub for Afghan investors and traders who, according to estimates, have invested billions of dollars in the past decade.
It has also hosted informal talks between Taliban delegates and Afghan politicians in the past, and recently one round of peace talks between representatives of the group and US diplomats was held there.
Ghani’s office said that the president will meet with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohamed Bin Zayed.
“Besides issuing a joint communique, President Ghani and His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will preside over the signing of MoUs in the fields of culture, education, sports, mining, energy and agriculture by the governments of Afghanistan and UAE,” it said in a statement.
Janaqa Naveed, chief of public relations of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce, said that trade between Afghanistan and the UAE has jumped up in recent years.
“We have had long and friendly relations with the UAE and that has attracted Afghans to invest there due to the facilitation given by UAE to Afghans,” Naveed told Arab News.
“The volume of annual trade stands to tens of millions of dollars both in terms of export and imports and in addition to bilateral trade, UAE has helped Afghanistan with over $1.5 bn in aid projects such as building two hospitals and townships,” he said.