Establishing a rail network, in line with the development plans and the general utility of the government and connecting it to regional and international railways networks, is one of the most important and strategic goals of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA). As a result, these railways’ networks have been instrumental in developing and strengthening trade, tourism and social affairs at the national, regional and international levels. In order to expand these relationships for better trade and transit services, and facilities for transporting goods and passengers, railway network plays a vital role as a connecting bridge.
Direct and indirect investment opportunities in the sector are being studied from the commercial, economic, environmental and social perspectives and are expected to be approximately more than US$20 billion in Afghanistan and the region. GoIRA may consider setting up the Infrastructure Special Purpose Fund to be sponsored by the countries in the region and multi-lateral financial institutions. One of the prime challenges for ARA (Afghanistan railway Authority) would be to consistently meet deadlines and continue building railways of international standards in the face of limited resources, local conflicts, and rising demands. ARA has planned to build over 5,000 km of railways with $16,777 million by 2030, a major challenge, along with mobilization of funds.
China, which is interested in the OBOR (One Belt One Road) project, is an important source of funding. The Chinese investment of $100 million in Afghanistan is much less compared to their investment in Pakistan ($46 billion) and the Central Asian nations ($31 billion). To enhance this, there is a need to incorporate related projects that support OBOR.