January 29, 2014: This presentation, made by the World Bank at the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) on January 29, 2014 touches upon three areas: (i) Afghanistan’s development progress and challenges ahead; (ii) recent economic and fiscal developments; and (iii) the reform agenda beyond 2014.
Afghanistan has achieved significant economic and social progress over the last decade from a very low base. At the same time, Afghanistan faces formidable development challenges in poverty reduction, job creation, and service delivery going forward. Jobs will need to be created for 400,000 new entrants into the labor force each year and aid dependency remains very high.
Uncertainty related to the political and security transition has led to a slowdown in economic growth from 14.4% in 2012 to an estimated 3.1% in 2013. After a decade of strong fiscal performance, revenue collection has weakened in 2012 and 2013. Growth and fiscal performance are expected to remain weak in 2014 before picking up in 2015 assuming a smooth political and security transition.
Looking beyond 2014, addressing Afghanistan’s poverty reduction and development challenges will require addressing reform priorities in four key areas: (i) ensuring fiscal sustainability by mobilizing revenue, securing grant assistance, and safeguarding non-security expenditures; (ii) supporting inclusive and job-creating private-sector led growth by unlocking the potential of the agriculture, services, and natural resource sectors and by tapping regional integration; (iii) improving upon the still low levels of human capital and skills; and (iv) continuing to strengthen institutions and governance.