22 February 2016
Mr Bashir Keshtiar, President of Australia Afghan Business Council
Honourable Robin Scott MP, Minister for Finance
Mr Atiqullah Nusrat, CEO-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries
Mr Ali Akbar Zhawandai, Advisor to H.E. President of Afghanistan
H.E. Mr Matthew Anderson PSM, Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan
Ladies and Gentlemen
At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude to the Australian Afghan Business Council for organising this important event today, and thank you for your participation here today. Your presence is of significant importance and adds greatly to today’s gathering.
We all know that Afghanistan and Australia have a deep historical relationship and I would like to extent my gratitude to the Australian authorities for supporting Afghanistan and deepening Afghan-Australian relations. Together we have enjoyed people to people relationship building since 1860 and 1870 when Afghans with their camels came to Australia to participate in the development process of communication networks in this beautiful country. They played a vital part and very constructive role in Australian society and economic development. Their inspiring efforts are parts of Australian memory. I am very proud that we have such a deep historic relation and a broad people to people connection today.
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is also an opportunity for me to thank Australians for their sincere support in challenging times. Australia supports Afghans here in Australia and in Afghanistan during the time of war against international terrorism.
Australian troops have been fighting against terrorism shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan security forces for more than one decade.
Of course Afghans will never forget Australian support during these challenging times and particularly of those who have lost their precious lives in Afghanistan. Afghans will honour and remember Australia’s support and contribution against terrorism, the support of human rights, the assistance for the reconstruction process and hosting of thousands of Afghan refugees in these difficult times.
We appreciate Australia’s ongoing commitment for a long term support of Afghanistan’s security forces. At the same time we have to remember that Afghanistan fights against terrorism on behalf of the international community. Furthermore, Afghanistan does need the long term support and commitment of the international community including Australia.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Despite our significant achievements in our bilateral relationships in term of people to people relations and Australia’s strategic commitments and support of Afghanistan, our business communities interaction and cooperation, is still not that strong as Afghanistan wishes it to be. It is the job of the Embassy and the Australian Afghan Business Council to work together to enhance the relationship and to take it forward to reach desired outcomes. In order to successfully enhance bilateral business relations a substantive and inclusive plan should be developed.
Such plan can improve relations between companies, and will serve as a vehicle to encourage Australian companies to invest in Afghanistan and to work together with their Afghan counterparts.
Moreover, Australia has a rich historical experience on mining industry, law and regulation and mining investments. Therefore, we need Australia’s cooperation and support in these fields. However, it requires dynamic multi-level efforts from Afghanistan’s side to work with our Australian friends in the business community.
As such, we can enhance our private sector relations such as mineral and mining companies, small and medium size enterprises and trade. But it requires substantial work and follow up from initial introductions, and inclusive strategy to mobilize our all resources to bridge among our businesses and economic communities.
Therefore, in Afghanistan, our business community, the environment for developing business to business relationships, and right conditions for investment should be ready, and it is ready. As my colleague from Afghanistan provided more details, and I am sure they will provide you with more other details in this regard.
In relation to the Embassy’s role for this process, the Afghanistan Embassy in Australia is ready to support and provide consular services to the Business Council and for Australian companies to go to Afghanistan for investment and to enable them to work with the Afghan business community.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Once again, thank you for your participation; I appreciate your focus on Afghanistan in this critical time. Also my special thanks go to the President of the Australian Afghan Business Council and the CEO of the Council and members for supporting Afghanistan and Australia together, and the Council encouraging business to business interaction and cooperation. It is a crucial effort at the right time.