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 safety and efficiency of economic transactions, and bring real banking to more people. And, Hardmi said, it was moving quickly before the U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban took over.
However, 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 one or two years 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”, working regularly for up to 17 hours a day to support rapid growth. They “are so passionate about the economy that they can be independent.”
“We hope that our efforts will be rewarded,” he said in tears. “Everything seems to be in vain, everything we do is in vain. This seems to be a dream, but now it will never come true.”
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. has chosen 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 with Stop planned cash transportationFor weeks, many Afghans have been anticipating this situation, because they are worried that they will run out of cash in the future, and people have lined up in banks.
ATM activity has reached its peak. “friends [who work in banks] Ruchi Kumar, a journalist and writer for MIT Technology Review, worked in Kabul for eight years, but recently fled the country.
The problems caused by the lack of cash are accumulating. The U.S. 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 without banking, the money supply will be tight soon.
However, sending money from abroad to that country has become more difficult. Western Union is the largest money transfer company in the world. pause Services in Afghanistan, and National Broadcasting Corporation It was reported that MoneyGram 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.