The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved grants worth $380 million to help Afghanistan cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes the financing of the Dastarkhan-e-Milli programme.
According to the World Bank, the financial aid package includes a $280 million grant to fund the COVID-19 Relief Effort for Afghan Communities and Households (REACH) Project.
REACH along with a parallel relief effort organized under the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project, will cover 90% of households in the country under the government’s Dastarkhan-e-Milli programme which will benefit 4.1 million households.
“The living conditions of millions of Afghan families have severely worsened due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.
Another $100 million grant has also been approved to fund the Emergency Agriculture and Food Supply Project (EATS) which aims to improve food security by increasing local food production and strengthening critical commercial food supply chains, especially wheat.
The EATS project will also provide short-term employment in rural areas in the development of productive assets such as irrigation schemes.
“These grants will help the government of Afghanistan address the urgent needs of most households and ensure that Afghan farmers can continue to produce food at a time when imports and exports are severely disrupted. This will extend economic opportunities and create jobs for the wider rural population,” said Kerali.
The REACH Project will be implemented through the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, the Independent Directorate for Local Governance, and the Kabul Municipality. The EATS Project is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.