Written by Maryam Habib and Dr. Muhammad Asim
Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. However, achieving these targets remains a significant challenge for many countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This comparative analysis will examine the progress made by each country towards achieving SDG 8 and the challenges that need to be addressed.
Despite facing international sanctions, Iran has made progress in reducing poverty and increasing access to education and healthcare. In recent years, the government has implemented economic reforms to diversify the economy, improve the business environment, and promote private sector development. The country has also taken steps to improve labor market policies and address issues such as child labor and discrimination in the workplace. However, Iran still faces challenges in attracting foreign investment and accessing international markets.
Afghanistan remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with high levels of poverty, unemployment, and insecurity. Decades of conflict have had a devastating impact on its economy and infrastructure. The government has made efforts to improve the business environment, attract investment, and promote economic growth, but progress has been slow. Afghanistan faces significant challenges in creating decent work opportunities, with most of the population engaged in low-productivity and low-wage activities in the informal sector.
Pakistan has made progress in reducing poverty and improving access to education and healthcare. The country’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of around 4%, and the government has implemented reforms aimed at improving the business environment and promoting private sector development. However, Pakistan faces significant challenges in creating decent work opportunities, with high levels of informal employment, low wages, and limited social protection for workers. The country also needs to address issues such as child labor, forced labor, and discrimination in the workplace.
While each country has made progress towards achieving the targets of SDG 8, there are still significant challenges to be addressed. Iran’s economic reforms have been effective in improving the business environment and labor market policies, but the country needs to do more to attract foreign investment and access international markets. Afghanistan’s progress towards creating decent work opportunities has been slow due to ongoing conflict and insecurity, and the government needs to prioritize job creation and productivity-enhancing policies. Pakistan’s economic growth has been relatively strong, but the country needs to address the informal sector’s challenges and strengthen social protection for workers.
In last, this study analyzed that the achieving sustainable economic growth and decent work opportunities for all remains a significant challenge for many countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. While each country has made progress towards SDG 8’s targets, there is still much work to be done to address challenges such as attracting foreign investment, creating productive jobs, and improving social protection for workers. The proposed market at tri-borderland could be a viable solution to enhancing economic growth and creating decent work opportunities in the region. However, it requires a collaborative effort from all three countries to implement effective policies and promote private sector development.