Telecommunications services in Afghanistan rely heavily on its mobile infrastructure. There are five mobile operators competing in Afghanistan’s telecom sector. Between them they claimed a total of more than 25 million subscribers, with an overall mobile penetration of almost 80%. Afghanistan has a highly competitive mobile market that continues to flourish despite the background of the ongoing conflict throughout the country. The Telecom Regulatory Authority is the agency dedicated to facilitate the development of affordable, high quality telecom services in Afghanistan by providing a transparent, non-discriminatory and legal-regulatory framework that encourages innovative participation from the private sector.
Afghanistan’s economy is recovering from decades of conflict. The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government’s difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world.
Despite the large amount of international help that the country is currently receiving, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.
Afghanistan’s growth rate slowed markedly in 2014-15. The drawdown of international security forces that started in 2014 has negatively affected economic growth, as a substantial portion of commerce, especially in the services sector, has catered to the ongoing international troop presence in the country. Reforms have been promised by the current rulers, but they will take time to implement and Afghanistan will remain dependent on international donor support over the next several years.