Afghanistan’s imminent cash crisis could exacerbate humanitarian disaster


This is an important project: the Afghan economy runs on cash, and it is estimated that only 10% to 15% of citizens have bank accounts. APS aims to help Afghanistan reduce its dependence on cash, improve the security and efficiency of economic transactions, and provide real banking services to more people. And, Hadmi said, it was moving quickly before the United States withdrew and the Taliban took over.

But now, as chaos continues in Afghanistan, the project has ceased, and the cash is exhausted before any viable alternatives are put in place.

But different results are within reach, Khademi said: Afghanistan may only have a year or two to have the 21st century digital banking infrastructure that can cope with the disappearance of cash. He said that his team is “very dedicated and hardworking” and works regularly up to 17 hours a day to support rapid growth. They “are so passionate about the economy that they want to be independent.”

“We hope that our efforts will be rewarded,” he said in tears. “It seems that everything is in vain, everything we do is in vain. This seems to be a dream, but now it will never come true.”

Frozen assets

The cash crisis is not accidental. Most of the assets of the former Afghan government are kept in offshore accounts, which have since been frozen to prevent the Taliban from entering. According to former central bank governor Ajmal AhmadyThe U.S. chose to block the Taliban-which is on the Treasury Department’s sanctions list-to obtain other funds through the following methods Freeze the cash reserves of the Afghan government and Stop planned cash transportationMany Afghan people have been expecting this situation for weeks because of fear that their cash will be exhausted in the future, and banks have lined up.

ATM activity has reached its peak. “friends [who work in banks] Ruchi Kumar, a reporter and writer for MIT Technology Review, has worked in Kabul for eight years, but recently fled the country.

The problems caused by the lack of cash are accumulating. The dollar is becoming scarcer, the value of Afghan cash is plummeting, and according to Hadmi, the price of basic commodities is soaring.Cash is still in circulation-Afghanistan has A large-scale informal banking system, Operated through local unlicensed currency dealers. The source said that they are still operating, but if there are no banking activities, the money supply will be tight soon.

Some outsiders try to fill the gap by running Online fundraising, And others even Hints that cryptocurrencies may enter a void.

However, it has become more difficult to transfer funds into the country from abroad. Western Union is the largest money transfer company in the world. pause Services in Afghanistan, and National Broadcasting Corporation It is reported that MoneyGram has also stopped operations there. At the same time, some foreign crowdfunding websites, such as GoFundMe, have been accused of “dishonest” behavior. Block some fundraising activities For the country Let others continue.

“I didn’t expect this day”

Although digital alternatives have largely failed to fill the void left by the cash collapse, there are still opportunities for alternative services to help.

Reporter Kumar said that vulnerable Afghans are using services such as WasalPay (a system for paying utility bills online) to maintain their phone credit lines.

She uses it to send money so that people in trouble can use it to keep in touch. Her network includes journalists, activists, and human rights defenders; they can use WasalPay to obtain funds from abroad, whether from personal donations and donations, or from larger sources such as the International Women’s Media Foundation.





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