New Grant To Sustain Afghanistan’s Reforms Toward COVID-19 Recovery

Kabul: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Saturday approved a $132 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) to help Afghanistan continue implementing critical reforms to improve public spending and fiscal transparency, strengthen governance, and mobilize private investment toward economic recovery.

The 2021 Incentive Program Development Policy Grant aligns with the government’s priorities under the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework II (ANPDF II). It complements a $300 million grant from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), a multi-donor trust fund managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

“It reaffirms the World Bank’s strong commitment to helping the Afghan people recover and build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. “In these difficult times, the World Bank stands ready to work closely with the government of Afghanistan to maintain its reform momentum and sustain its progress toward inclusive growth and self-reliance.
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Amid political uncertainty, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Afghanistan’s economy, public finances, and social development outcomes. In 2020, the Afghan economy shrank by around 2 percent as lockdowns drove significant job losses, especially for informal and service workers. In recent months, poverty has likely increased further because of worsening droughts and difficult economic conditions, compounded by intensifying insecurity and political uncertainties.

In fact, in response to a recent surge in COVID cases in Afghanistan, the United States will donate three million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine to the people of Afghanistan through COVAX. COVAX is working to ship those doses to Afghanistan.

In fact, a press videographer who was traveling with President Ashraf Ghani’s delegation tested positive for COVID-19, according to a notification released by Congress’s Office of Attending Physician on Friday. Several members of the high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar and negotiating team member Matin Bek, were exposed to the infected person and hence, avoided meeting the Presidents.

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