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WB to Help Afghanistan Alleviate Poverty with New Grants

Wednesday 12 July 2017

KABUL (Pajhwok) — The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday signed a financing package of $482.3 mln in grants with the World Bank to help the country alleviate poverty. The singing signalled a long-term commitment by both parties to Afghanistan’s and its people’s development, the MoF said in a statement.

The package would help Afghanistan support communities with refugees, expand private-sector opportunities for the poor, boost development of five cities, expand electrification, improve food security and build rural roads.

The financing included grants from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, as well as contributions from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

The new funding package aims to support efforts of the government of Afghanistan to stimulate growth and ensure service delivery during a time of uncertainty when risks to the economy are significant.

The international troop withdrawal, begun in 2011, coupled with political uncertainties, have resulted in a slowdown of economic growth, while government budget pressures are increasing as security threats mount and drive people from their homes.

The $482.3 mln financing package consists of seven grants: $172 mln in additional financing from IDA ($127.7 mln) and the ARTF ($44.3 mln) to the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project to support communities with internally displaced persons and returnees from Pakistan. A $100 mln from IDA will go to the Inclusive Growth Development Policy Grant to support reforms that expand access to economic opportunities for the vulnerable and promote private sector development. A $20 mln from IDA will be injected to the Urban Development Support Project to strengthen urban policy-making in national agencies, and reinforce urban management and service delivery in five provincial capital cities.

Another $60 mln from IDA will go to the Herat Electrification Project to provide access to electricity to households, institutions, and businesses in selected areas of the western province. Some $20.3 mln from IDA will be allocated to the Afghanistan Strategic Grain Reserve Project to finance establishing strategic wheat reserves and improve the efficiency of grain storage management;

A $105 mln in additional financing from ARTF to the Afghanistan Rural Access Project is part of the grants, which aims to benefit rural communities through access to all-season roads. A $5 mln project preparation grant from the ARTF to support the establishment of a Women’s Economic Empowerment National Priority Programme (WEE-NPP) Support Project, which aims to advance women’s access to economic assets and opportunities.

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