Kabul: The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany held negotiations on development cooperation on Tuesday and the German government agreed to provide EUR 182.6 million (about AFN 17.4 billion) in funds for bilateral cooperation.
Deputy Minister of Policy, Ministry of Finance, Nazir Kabiri headed the Afghan delegation. Professor Claudia Warning, Director-General Middle East, Asia, Latin America, South-Eastern Europe and Eastern Europe, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), headed the German delegation. The conference took place virtually for the second time because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In her speech, DG Warning said, “We stand ready to work with the government and the many committed Afghans to contribute to a sustainable development of Afghanistan. We will only succeed in our joint efforts for a peaceful, socially just and economically strong Afghanistan if all actors are committed to a political solution to the ongoing conflict.’
The delegations agreed on the allocation of funding for development cooperation in 2021. Financial Cooperation projects will be allocated EUR 120 million (about AFN 11.4 billion) and Technical Cooperation projects EUR 47.6 million (about AFN 4.5 billion). An additional amount of EUR 15 million (about AFN 1.4 billion) is made available via the BMZ special initiative Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement – Reintegrating Refugees. The funds will be used to extend ongoing activities to improve access to basic services and legal assistance for refugees, returnees and IDPs.
BMZ is making further funding available directly to non-governmental organizations working with communities in Afghanistan. In addition, the German Federal Foreign Office provides substantial funding for stabilization and humanitarian assistance. Germany is thus on track to fulfil its pledge at the Geneva Conference 2020 to provide a total amount of up to EUR 430 million (about AFN 41 billion) in civil assistance for Afghanistan in 2021.
Kabiri said, “The friendship and good relations between Afghanistan and Germany have a long history of more than a century. The Government of Afghanistan acknowledges the assistance by the German Government and the German people for Afghanistan on its path to building a stable democracy and moving towards efficiency and self-reliance.”
Afghan-German development cooperation will take into account the newly developed eight National Priority Programs (NPPs) and full effort would be made to align with the government priorities. These NPPs are National Essential Infrastructure, National Human Capital, National Water and Resource Management, National Energy and Extractives, National Accountability and Digitalization, National Health, and National Financial Sector.
The aim of Afghan-German development cooperation is to bring about a lasting improvement in the living conditions and prospects of the people living in Afghanistan – so that they can enjoy a self-determined and peaceful life that is not overshadowed by poverty, displacement, violence and extremism.
Afghanistan and Germany will jointly work to enhance governance, strengthen institutions and combat corruption. Germany expects that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans be protected and strengthened, especially for women, children, all persons belonging to minorities and other groups at risk. This will ensure that all citizens can benefit from the economic, social, political and developmental achievements of the past 20 years and for the years to come.
These are also the principles that underlie both the mutually agreed Afghanistan Partnership Framework (APF) and the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework II (ANPDF-2). The German side encourages the Afghan side to take effective measures and make tangible progress in the implementation of ANPDF-2 and APF.
As in previous years, Germany has tied a part of its allocations to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to progress in good governance. In addition to the funds committed on Tuesday, Germany will make available up to EUR 70 million (AFN 6.6 billion) to be channeled via the ARTF. However, this share of funding is linked inter alia to improvements in the human rights situation, anti-corruption measures, sound public financial management and improvements in the civil service, including a strengthened role of women. The decision on the release of the funding (or parts of it) will be taken in November 2021.
The German side will expand its cooperation with reform partners in Afghanistan and will make greater use of incentives to promote transparency, ownership and a focus on development. The German side also emphasized the importance of the sustainable operation of all existing and new infrastructure facilities in order to ensure their functionality for the benefit of Afghan people.