World Bank Approves Over $1bn in Funds to Afghanistan

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved
an expanded approach to support the people of Afghanistan based on the request
of Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) donors and the international
community. The approach will guide the provision of over $1 billion in funds
from the ARTF in the form of recipient-executed grants to selected United
Nations agencies and international NGOs and will remain outside the control of
the interim Taliban administration.

This follows the transfer-out of $280 million in ARTF funds on December 15, 2021—$100 million to UNICEF and $180 million to the World Food Program (WFP)—to support the humanitarian response over the critical winter months.

The expanded approach aims to support the delivery of
essential basic services, protect vulnerable Afghans, help preserve human
capital and key economic and social services, and reduce the need for
humanitarian assistance in the future. The ARTF continues to be the main
coordination platform for donors, and the World Bank remains committed to
supporting the people of Afghanistan.

As a first step, the ARTF donors will decide on four
projects of approximately $600 million to support urgent needs in the
education, health, and agriculture sectors, as well as community livelihoods,
with a strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit
from the support.

The World Bank will work closely with ARTF donors and
multilateral stakeholders in the coming weeks to finalize the design of and
funding allocation for these projects. The World Bank’s operational policies
apply to activities financed through recipient-executed grant arrangements and
the Bank remains engaged in project design and supervision.

This $600 million will be supplemented with additional
allocations from the ARTF during 2022 as conditions allow and as decided by the
ARTF donors. This phased approach is designed to be flexible and adaptive,
recognizing that the situation on the ground remains fluid.

Also, under this approach the World Bank will continue to
produce its Afghanistan Economic Monitor and other analytical work on
areas such as the financial sector, the private sector, and poverty under the
theme of Afghanistan Futures to engage with the international community and
underpin support to the Afghan people.

Source: Wadsam

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