The economy of Afghanistan has improved significantly since 2002 with infusion of international assistance and investments, as well as remittances from expatriates.
It is also due to dramatic improvements in the country’s agricultural production and the end of a four-year drought in most of the country. The main source of income in the country is agriculture despite the fact that only 12 % of its total land area is arable. The major food crops produced are: corn, rice, barley, wheat, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Afghanistan’s fruit and nut exports are estimated at US $ 113 million annually. According to analysts, this could increase to more than US $ 800 million per year given the proper investments.
The industry in Afghanistan is also based on agriculture and pastoral raw materials. The major industrial crops are: cotton, tobacco, castor beans, and sugar beets. Sheep farming is popular and wool is among the major sheep product exports. Afghanistan is a land rich in natural resources. It has numerous mineral and precious stone deposits, as well as natural gas and yet to be tapped petroleum resources.
Manufacturing remains a small sector of the economy in Afghanistan.
UNIDO cooperation in Afghanistan is mainly in the form of an Integrated Programme (IP) of assistance to the country covering the period 2005-2008. The emphasis is on an enabling environment conducive to business, and on capacity building for employment and income generation.