Selected World Bank Achievements in Afghanistan
Education: The World Bank is helping to rehabilitate primary schools and train teachers, while giving technical assistance to strengthen the Ministries of Education and Higher Education. The Bank’s Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) gives funds to communities to rehabilitate or construct school buildings and access teaching and learning materials. Funds are directed through School Management Shuras (councils), now functioning in more than 14,100 schools. Since 2002, a total of 838 schools have been constructed and 283 are under construction and expected to be built by March 2015.
The Skills Development Program revived two key institutions in Kabul: the National Institute of Management and Administration that prepares young professionals to acquire junior level jobs in the public and private sectors; and the National Institute of Music that trains gifted young musicians, establishing a nurturing platform for music in the country. By March 2015, some 9,000 students are expected to graduate from both institutions. In addition, 15 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools and institutes nationwide have been selected to receive the recognition grant of $30,000 and to scale up or replicate good practices in delivering skills. Subsequently, these beneficiaries are receiving supplementary technical assistance for the preparation and implementation of Business Development Plans and five-year business plans for their institutes. In partnership with the International Labor Organization and an international certification agency, graduates from these institutes and schools will receive internationally recognized certification of their skills.
Health: Over the past decade, Afghanistan has made steady progress in the health sector. The number of health facilities in 11 target provinces nearly tripled from 148 to 432. Around 20,000 community health workers—half of them women—were trained and deployed throughout the country, increasing access to family planning and boosting childhood vaccinations. The number of facilities with trained female health workers rose from 25 percent before the project to 74 percent today. The number of functioning health facilities increased from 496 in 2002 to more than 2,000 in 2012, while at the same time the proportion of facilities with female staff increased.
Bringing most of the efforts in public health service delivery under one umbrella in Afghanistan, the World Bank’s System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition (SEHAT) Project augments the progress achieved through the Strengthening Health Activities for Rural Poor project, and will support the implementation of the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) and Essential Package of Hospital Services (EPHS) through contracting arrangements in rural and urban areas covering 22 of the country’s 34 provinces, including Kabul. SEHAT will also support efforts in strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Public Health at central and provincial levels to effectively carry out its stewardship functions.
Rural Development: The National Solidarity Program (NSP), the Government of Afghanistan’s flagship rural development program, is empowering rural communities by facilitating democratically elected Community Development Councils (CDCs). To date, over 33,400 CDCs have received over $1.48 billion in block grants; and implemented over 83,700 rural infrastructure sub-projects in their respective villages. About 80% of the projects involve infrastructure such as irrigation, rural roads, electrification, and drinking water supply, all critical for the recovery of the rural economy. More than half the projects have been completed.
Improving access to basic services and facilities through secondary and tertiary roads, the Afghanistan Rural Access Project will increase the number of people living within two kilometers (km) of feeder roads and reduce travel time to essential services. The project is expected to build 500 km of secondary roads and 600 km of tertiary roads by March 2015. To date more than 11,000 km of rural roads and related drainage structures have been upgraded or rehabilitated under these programs through four projects financed through IDA, ARTF, and other funds.
Customs: The Customs Reform and Trade Facilitation Project assisted the Afghan Customs Department (ACD) to migrate to the web-based ASYCUDA World system, an automated system for customs data. This system is in operation at Islamqala, Kabul and Kabul Airport Customs where it has further expedited the release of legitimate goods. By March 2015, ACD will also install systems for real time monitoring of customs operations, and cross-border custom-to-custom data exchange with neighboring countries.
Horticulture and Livestock: Building on the 5,000 hectares of fruit orchards established since 2009 through its predecessor, the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP), in addition to rehabilitating 6,000 hectares of old orchards, will plant 1,500 new vineyards and orchards of apricots, pomegranates, almonds, and pistachios in 1393. The project is also expected to reduce animal brucellosis by 15 percent throughout the country, granting a means of sustainable income to the rural poor by March 2015.
Irrigation: With over 85 percent of rural population relying on agriculture, irrigation remains a pressing need in rural Afghanistan. The Irrigation Restoration and Development Project (IRDP) is ensuring irrigation of some 300,000 hectares of land by rehabilitating irrigation systems and building a limited number of small multi-purpose dams. In the small dam component, the completed pre-feasibility study had selected seven dam sites in the northern provinces and feasibility study for 6 dams are submitted (the seventh site is not accessible for drilling) and it is under review and the completed parts of the feasibility study report for 3 remaining dam sites are submitted as per the contract. In the hydro-met component, installation of hydro-meteorological equipment had been completed and data collection performance of the installed stations also improved considerably in all 5 river basins.
Rural Enterprise: Since its inception, the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Project (AREDP) has mobilized 41,800 rural poor—almost half of whom are women—in 3,500 village Savings Groups (SGs), which have collectively saved over $1.5 million. Federated in 35 Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs), they have issued over 10,400 loans to SG members with a repayment rate of about 95 percent.
On average each VSLA has $3,300 as loan-able capital which will be further boosted with a seed grant injection in the coming months. This improves access to finance for group members who cannot access such funds from commercial banks or microfinance institutions. AREDP also works towards strengthening market linkages and value chains for rural enterprises by providing technical support to over 1,345, Enterprise Groups (63 percent female) and 256 (13 percent female) Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have been selected for their potential as key drivers of rural employment and income generation. A total of 6 Provincial Situations Analysis (PSA) are completed and ten PSAs are underway. AREDP uses Community Development Councils as an entry point into communities and is currently working in 20 districts of five provinces: Parwan, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Balkh, and Herat.
Market Development: The Afghanistan New Market Development Project aims to pilot a business development program in the four urban centers of Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad and Herat, which are the major hubs of economic activity. The projects aims to help enterprises gain market knowledge, improve product quality, boost productive capacity, acquire new technologies, and develop and implement business plans to increase their presence in both domestic and export markets. To date, the Facility has received applications from over 745 SMEs. Moreover, the Facility has signed cost-sharing grant contracts with over 311 SMEs.
Telecommunications: The Afghanistan Information and Communication Technology Sector Development Project is helping expand telecommunications connectivity, giving Afghans greater access to telephone and Internet services. It supports the Government’s use of mobile technologies to improve public service delivery in strategic sectors in Afghanistan. The project will train 1,500 young Afghans to develop IT skills and improve their employability by March 2015. Implementation of three contracts for the installation and commissioning of approximately 1,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables; and one contract for the establishment of a shared government mobile services delivery platform has taken off. Optical fiber cable construction is progressing; about 200 kilometers of ducting has been completed. The Ministry of Communications and IT adopted an open access policy for the national backbone network, ensuring non-discriminatory access to wholesale internet bandwidth for all firms. Some 450 Afghans have been trained under the IT skills development program. The first round of the Innovation Support Program awarded 11 local innovators for their ideas on how mobile technologies could help address nine challenges in various sectors including agriculture, education, and health.
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2014