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31 August 2013  Featured article

AFGHANISTAN TAKES BABY STEPS TO STOCK EXCHANGE MARKET

Ahmad Shoaib Sabir

Msc, International Banking and Finance

Throughout the decades of war and turmoil in Afghanistan, Kabul had almost lost its spirit as Afghanistan financial capital. This was particularly alarming before 2001 when Hamid Karzia assumed power. Thus, the focus had been shifted to a number of other cities including Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Herat which had potentially easy access to trade and markets in the neighbouring countries. The nature of the trade subsequently led the local currencies of these countries to flow into Afghan markets and in many occasions, their currencies were used as direct means of exchange for goods and services in the country without getting them exchanged to Afghani, the Afghan local currency. The Afghani had a growing depreciation associated with a hyper inflation which consequently destabilised the Afghan economy.

The infrastructure linking the cities across the borders with neighbouring countries to Kabul had been destroyed and the absence of regular maintenance of intercity high ways was one of the main reasons. The absence of a stable financial system with too limited or no liaising with the global financial system around the world and Asian sub-continent due to the war and uncertain security had also violently hijacked the spirit of Kabul as Afghanistan financial capital.

Foreign investment had been highly discouraged due to the type of administration in power. This impeded the growth of domestic corporations and restricted the opportunities for the emergence of a functioning financial market which could potentially issue shares and stocks.

In the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s fall in December 2001, the injection of foreign aid into the Afghan economy was a green light towards the growth of domestic corporations as a result of which, banking, aviation and telecommunication industries had made considerable progress which could be seen as highlighted firms capable of being quoted in Afghanistan’s Stock Exchange one day.

The growth of these firms led to the re-emergence of the desire for growth of possible stock exchange market which was lacking for ages. Behind this concept were the endless efforts of some financial organisations such as Afghanistan Financial Services which has had many years of investment banking experience with leading global financial services firms such as Morgan Stanley and a wealth management division of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch in the United States.

To change the dreams into reality and make Afghanistan Stock Exchange feasible by 2014, some optimism has grown. For instance, more than 80 companies across Afghanistan have already signed up to go public and eventually be quoted in Afghanistan Stock Exchange platform which give Afghanistan Stock Exchange concept a backbone.

Afghanistan Financial Services has taken baby steps in last few years providing financial services in Afghanistan and has automated the primary and secondary market for capital notes through a secure online trading system at Da Afghanistan Bank– the Central Bank of Afghanistan. These founding steps can further expand the feasibility of transformation into a fully functioning stock exchange system for the future in Afghanistan.

In addition, Afghanistan Financial Services as a highly professional financial services organisation has been awarded the stock market licence. The company's responsibility includes selection of elements such as establishing the operational side of the market, bringing companies and potential investors on board, and partners such as Nasdaq OMX to set up a trading platform.

Establishment of Afghanistan Stock Exchange can be founded in the heart of Kabul city which can initially be underpinned by locating the 16 functional banks coupled with Afghanistan Stock Exchange buildings thus giving birth to a new financial district in Kabul.

The plan for building the premises of Afghanistan Stock Exchange has been in process by selecting the iconic architects from around Afghanistan through tough competition process. The process would deem to be highly selective in voting for the top three designs and finally choose the best of three. The interesting point about the structure of the landmark is that public can vote and share views in choosing what design and how the Afghanistan Stock Exchange building should look like.

Upon withdrawal of NATO Troops from Afghanistan, the main focus of Afghanistan Stock Exchange setup is to transform Afghanistan economy from an aid dependency market into that of a more free and yet independently operating market economy. The move as such can attract investors from certain Asian countries from the continent as well as the developed countries such as EU, UK, U.S and Australia and it can be proven lucrative to the Afghan free market economy concept.

In line with applauding efforts mentioned, the looming issues in terms of security after the withdrawal of NATO forces by 2014 which coincides with the historic launching of the Afghanistan Stock Exchange operation is a concern.

However, certain defining factors for success are paramount and could focus on the facts that in order to maintain stability in terms of security and stable financial market and financial system which comprises a historic Afghanistan Stock Exchange platform in 2014 within a dream financial district in heart of Kabul, we need to set the conditions up for governance, the rule of law and economic opportunities. Consequently, there will be solid economic development and success in regards to stock exchange market can then be inevitable in the near future.  

(PRWEB) August 29, 2008 -- With the credit crunch looming ever closer to the UK borders the creator of www.easybooks.741.com has teamed up with South African web developers to create www.uktaxandaccounts.com.

South African director, Nicole Fowler, of United Kingdom based consulting company Lynnix (UK) Limited has teamed up with South African web developers Robert Benyon and Ross Godlonton from Grahamstown, South Africa to create uktaxandaccounts.com in a bid to support the boom in UK companies.

The site has many exciting features for entrepreneurs who need quick access to new market opportunities in the wake of the property and credit slump. Essentially this web portal was created for entrepreneurs with little knowledge of the creation and running of new companies in UK. The site allows users to register a company directly at Companies House, without an intermediary for £20, by linking into forms to be completed and providing templates to use for the initial Memorandum and Articles of Association.

The site also links to forms necessary for initial registration with HM Revenue & Customs, and explains the basic requirements for keeping company records.

Most of the information was originally contained in
www.easybooks.741.com but South African entrepreneur Rob Benyon, currently working towards a Phd in information systems, saw a solution to unlock the full potential of the original site. To date www.easybooks.741.com has had 27,000 hits and over a million hits on press releases issued from www.prweb.com, but without intervention from Rob Benyon and Ross Godlonton, users were finding navigation difficult. Initial responses to the new site and domain name www.uktaxandaccounts.com have been encouraging.

The contribution from Ross Godlonton, a young student at Rhodes University South Africa, has been instrumental in adding value to the content by converting and loading downloadable spreadsheets with preset formulas. Ross also created the city skyline graphic for the main frame from scratch, a remarkable achievement with relatively little resources at his disposal.

The spreadsheets allow users to download simple templates for preparation of company cashbook, extended trial balance, workings and accounts from the site. The templates contain formulas that link source information into the accounts, acting as a training tool for novice users. Instructions allow users to edit the spreadsheets and print accounts for small companies that can be taken to qualified accountants for review before filing and preparing tax computations.

Nicole Fowler, a full time director and working mother has written all the content and obtained copyright registration in the UK after leaving full time employment in 2006 and starting
www.easybooks.741.com. It is her belief that a major part of the solution to the current economic slump lies in a return to entrepreneurial business. The key indicators that mass full time over-employment is not beneficial to the economy in the long term are:

  • Crippling losses reported by major banks, food and clothing retailers

  • Sharp rise in house repossessions

  • Rising energy prices

  • Sharp rise in global warming due to inefficient use of resources


Goods and services needed for basic security needs of ordinary working families such as housing, food, clothing and transport has been rising sharply year on year and salaries are no longer keeping up with the pace of rising costs. Nicole, who has been working in London for eight years as an employee and consultant for accountants in public practice comments: "An early boost in small business activity and entrepreneurial spirit can inject the enthusiasm required to restore balance before we hit rock bottom".