In presence of President Ashraf Ghani, Afghan government entities signed three separate memorandums of understanding with the Minderoo Foundation and two framework deed agreements with Fortescue Future Industries this morning at the Presidential Palace.
The Australian company signed the documents with ministries of Public Health, Higher Education, Mines and Petroleum, Afghanistan National Water Affairs Regulation Authority, and Afghan Red Crescent Society.
Atta Nasib, Head of the Investment Facilitation Unit of the President’s Office extended gratitude to the Fortescue family and the Minderoo Foundation intending to work in a spirit of mutual respect, trust, collaboration, honesty and accountability.
Atta Nasib said, “Through its Thrive-by-Five initiative, the Minderoo Foundation aims to use its best endeavors to assist the government of Afghanistan to develop a parenting application appropriate for parents in Afghanistan.”
He added the application will enable the Afghan parents to have access to skills and tips to enhance brain development of the Afghan children.
First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh expressed appreciation to the Australian delegation and described the event as historical and a turning point in the mutual friendship between Afghanistan and Australia.
He said, “Today is a historic day because investors and billionaires go to the countries with great economic power for investing, but this time a billionaire has come to Afghanistan to invest. You have not only invested in the mines and energy here, but you have invested in the hearts of our people in love and friendship.”
Calling the two-day interaction with the Australian delegation full of experiences and inspirations, the first vice-president said, “We, Afghans, are thirsty for being empowered and standing on our own feet.
“Time has come that our ethos should revolve around the word ‘partnership’, working together, and tapping the untapped talents of the Afghans,” said Vice-president Saleh, while acknowledging Australia and Afghanistan’s western partners for their generosity to the country.
He stressed the Afghan nation doesn’t enjoy receiving charity, or asking others to solve its problems, and is determined to stand on its own feet.
Dr Andrew Forrest AO praised the Afghan President, his Vice Presidents and the entire Government for their courage, professionalism and honesty and said, “I ask you to join us now on a journey that will empower the Afghan people with the strength of economic independence.”
“We hope wherever and whenever we can, Fortescue and Minderoo will help you lead a country where we dramatically increase the survival for cancer, increase the wisdom of your academic research leaders and ensure equality of women,” said Dr Forrest.
President Ashraf Ghani delivered the concluding remarks at the event and thanked God for sparing Vice-President Saleh who survived a terrorist attack the day before.
President Ghani said, “Together we shall overcome everything that they – the enemies – throw our way.”
The president extended gratitude to the delegation and the Afghan government entities for the phenomenal job they did within the past two days and said the path opened for Afghanistan is a new model of transformation.
He said, “What is at stake is a completely new model of transformation that will hopefully open a path for Afghanistan like the path opened for Singapore in the 1960s, for South Korea in the 1970s and for China in the 1990s.”
The president paid tribute to the 18 thousand Australian troops who served in Afghanistan and offered condolences to the families of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice by losing their lives.