EU announces further support for the development of Afghanistan
On Friday, the European Commission announced new development funding of €1.4 billion to Afghanistan for the period 2014-2020. The funds will focus on vital sectors for growth and social stability, such as rural development and agriculture, health, and strengthening democracy in the country.
The signature of the development programme (known as Multiannual Indicative Programme), between European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and the National Economic Adviser Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal took place on Friday in Washington, around the edeges of the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Commissioner Piebalgs said, “This agreement is evidence of the EU’s continued long-term commitment to Afghanistan. Our support is based on lessons learnt through our cooperation with the country and draws on the priorities singled out by the national authorities. In short, the money will go where it is most needed and could be most effective. We expect these funds to create the conditions necessary to improve Afghan citizens’ livelihoods, by creating jobs, further strengthening Afghanistan’s institutions, and better enabling the population to have their say.”
He added “I welcome the formation of the Government of National Unity, which is an important step in securing the future of all Afghans. The EU looks forward to hearing the Government set out its reform programme at the London Conference next month. In line with other donors, the EU will set aside 20% of its funding to incentivise those reforms.”
The Afghanistan funding programme for the period 2014-2020 is the largest under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). This exceptional level of support aims to respond to the huge challenges on the ground. Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world and 80% of the population depends on agriculture and associated livelihoods. Seasonal and chronic unemployment are common and increasing.
The EU aims to support to the country during its ‘Transformation Decade’ as it had pledged to do at the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan in 2012. The majority of EU funding will be channeled into the country and applied to action using the major trust funds, particularly the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) administered by the World Bank, and the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA) administered by United Nations Development Programme.
The EU will focus its support to Afghanistan in the next seven years on:
- The development of a vital economic and employment sector: agriculture and rural development (€337 million)
- A social sector with a track record of achieving results and critical for human development: health (€274 million)
- The provision of physical and legal security for citizens through the increased professionalization of the police corps and application of the rule of law (€319 million)
- Enhancing the accountability of the state to its citizens through greater democratisation, such as through improved parliamentary, media, and civil society scrutiny (€163 million)
- €300 million will be used as an incentive component; to be paid based on the achievement of certain results and progress agreed upon – in line with the 2012 Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF). (Afg Express Report)