When the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the global economy looked a lot different: Tesla wasn't a company, the iPhone didn't exist and artificial intelligence was best known as a Steven Spielberg film.

Now all three are at the cutting edge of a modern economy driven by advancements in hi-tech chips and large-capacity batteries that are made with a range of minerals, including rare earths. And Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1- trillion (about R15-trillion), including what may be the world's largest lithium reserves - if anyone can get them out of the ground...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now