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PRESS RELEASE January 16, 2020

World Bank Vice President Visits Afghanistan, Reassures Continued Commitment

Kabul, January 16, 2020 – World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, Hartwig Schafer, today concluded his th-three-day visit to Afghanistan to discuss the country’s current economic developments and growth trajectory, and to reconfirm the World Bank’s commitment to support the country on its path to self-reliance.

During the visit, Schafer met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Acting Finance Minister Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, and representatives of Afghanistan's international partner organizations.

Schafer also explored ways in which the government could maintain the current development trend and service delivery after a possible political settlement.

“At this critical juncture in its political history, more than ever Afghanistan needs continued service delivery by the government, economic growth, and job creation to consolidate and sustain a potential political settlement,” said Schafer. "I renew the World Bank's commitment to stand with the Afghan people in their efforts to achieve economic growth and self-reliance, and we will work with the international community to ensure financial support to the country.”

In his meeting with Afghanistan's international partners, Schafer discussed future financing of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and preparations for the next Afghanistan ministerial conference where the Afghan government and its partners will explore the future of international support that fuels the country’s development. The conference will provide an opportunity for the Afghan government to engage with the international community and discuss future aid commitments to Afghanistan as existing pledges are due to expire at the end of 2020.

Although progress toward self-reliance is being achieved in Afghanistan with government revenues reaching $2.5 billion in 2018, Afghanistan will continue to depend on the international community's financial support in the medium term before domestic revenues and private sector growth can finance more government expenditure.

Over the coming years, the Afghan government will necessarily depend on aid grants to maintain the delivery of basic public services in key areas such as health and education, invest in the Afghan private sector that will enable Afghanistan's economy to grow faster and become less dependent on aid grants over time, and finance community programs and job creation schemes to help sustain and consolidate any possible political settlement.

Note to the editor:

The World Bank Group’s program in Afghanistan is currently governed by its Country Partnership Framework for fiscal years 2017–2020. The Bank administers the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the World Bank Group’s largest single-country multidonor trust fund. The ARTF provides grant support to Afghanistan based on a three-year rolling partnership framework and financing program. Together, the ARTF and the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, provide more than $1 billion a year in grants to Afghanistan.

Additionally, the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution focused on private sector development, has committed a total of $54.5 million to Afghanistan. The World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has provided guarantees worth $121 million for four projects in Afghanistan.



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