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Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund: A Global Partnership for Delivering Significant Results

April 16, 2013

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Graham Crouch/World Bank

The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) is delivering significant results in Afghanistan through providing budget support and the financing of grants for national government projects supported by a global partnership.

Challenge

Afghanistan’s new government faced a daunting set of economic and social challenges, caused by almost three decades of conflict, when it took over after the Taliban fell in late 2001. The international community stood ready and pledged to support Afghanistan’s new leadership in the reconstruction of the country. With the help of its international friends the Afghan government succeeded in achieving significant progress in key areas and sectors throughout the country.

The government of Afghanistan initiated the Kabul Process in 2010 to further ensure full support to the Afghan leadership and its responsibility for the development of Afghanistan. The Afghan government initiated 23 National Priority Programs (NPPs) covering such areas as governance, service delivery and infrastructure. The government asked donors to align their programs with the NPPs to coordinate and target development efforts in support of principles of aid effectiveness. The government and agreed with donors that at least 80% of donor assistance would be in line with these priorities even while accepting that not all the NPPs, or all components of NPPs, would be fully financed.

The next decade will be critical for Afghanistan. The country will experience a transition from international forces to national forces in the provision of security in 2014. The next decade is viewed as a “Decade of Transformation” as the country moves towards sustainable domestic revenues and economic growth. The continuing support of the international community will be critical to ensure the success of this process.

Approach

The ARTF is the largest contributor to the Afghan budget, for both operating costs and development programs. ARTF’s support for NPPs, for operating costs of government operations, and for the policy reform agenda is contributing to the achievement of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy. In addition, the specific objectives of ARTF are to:

  • Position the national budget as the key vehicle to align the reconstruction program with national development objectives;
  • Promote transparency and accountability of reconstruction assistance;
  • Reduce the burden on limited government capacity while promoting capacity-building over time;
  • Enhance donor coordination for financing and policy dialogue.

ARTF support has contributed to improving the lives of millions of Afghans across the country, including in the areas of health, education, rural development, and public finance management.

Results

Direct beneficiaries under ARTF projects: The approximate current number of beneficiaries of the ARTF is 7.9 million people for all the projects, not including the National Solidarity Program (NSP), with 38% female beneficiaries. NSP is currently reaching 21 million beneficiaries, of which 35% are female.

Today’s Increase in Access to Basic Services:

  • Access to Education: 7,700,000 (38% female)
  • Access to Electricity: 3,200,000
  • Access to Roads: 5,700,000
  • Access to Water and Sanitation Services: 4,800,000

Today’s Access to Livelihoods and Jobs:

  • Access to employment: 1,596 EG members and 1,208 NIMA graduates (30% female)
  • Access to short-term employment: 38.5 million labor days
  • Access to savings and enterprise support: 35,231 (50% female)
  • Access to agricultural and/or irrigation services: 178,000 (50% female)/ 3,300,000

" Most people in our village depend on agriculture in some way or other. So, to stand on our own feet, it was essential for us to boost our agricultural produce as much as we could. "

Haji Abdul Qahar

Farmer

ARTF is investing in Afghanistan’s education system, ensuring national access to quality school infrastructure and an improved standard of teaching. ARTF enabled the scale-up of the government’s national basic education program, EQUIP, contributing to the construction of more than 2800 classrooms; almost 11,000 school quality enhancement grants managed directly by schools. In addition, EQUIP has trained more than 150,000 teachers and provided technical assistance to the MOE for curriculum and textbook development, infrastructure designs and quality controls. ARTF support to the recurrent costs of government – which finances between $200 million and $300 million per year in teachers’ salaries across the 34 provinces – is leveraging policy reforms in the areas of teacher competency, training and administrative reform of the Ministry of Education. ARTF has invested in the university partnership scheme and the new National Institute for Management and Administration (NIMA) – making ARTF one of the key investors in the broader education sector.

ARTF is investing in Afghan communities, putting resources directly into the hands of citizens, and building better governance from the ground-up. Through the NSP, the government has been able to improve lives of 24 million villagers in all 34 provinces of the country. The block grant scheme has developed with ARTF support into the country’s largest and most successful program, mobilizing almost 30,000 communities to develop community plans, and completing over 64,000 small infrastructure projects in critical areas such as water supply, irrigation, roads and power. Since the program began in 2003, more than 38 million labor days have been generated. The NSP-funded project have brought power to more than 3.6 million village dwellers, and built almost 500 schools. Many more such projects are under implementation.

ARTF is investing in the country’s core infrastructure, closing the gap between village and market and between power grid and electricity consumer. The National Rural Access Program is the government’s main means to deliver rural access across the country through public works. ARTF has been supporting this important government program and contributed to the reconstruction and maintenance of almost 13,000 km of rural roads, many of them connecting villages in the country’s challenging mountainous terrain.

ARTF is investing in sustainable government capacity through the Capacity Building for Results Project (CBR). The five-year project aims to support the government’s effort to significantly increase the capacity of ministries to delivery essential services and implement national priority programs. CBR is structured as a facility that allows for adaptation based upon experience in the initial years. The facility is operating on a demand-driven approach with each participating line ministry demonstrating its ownership and commitment through formulation of a prioritized capacity building program.

All ministries are supported to complete essential reforms, such as the implementation of pay and grading. More extensive support will be contingent upon the ministry fulfilling certain criteria, such as having completed basic public administration reforms, and having an approved strategic plan. The aim is to set each ministry on a reform path that will help it function more effectively.


" This is my dream in life. I have always wanted to educate and empower the young women of Afghanistan, so they can serve the younger generation of this country and make it a better place. "

Naseema Saberi

Teacher at Kabul's Sorya School

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Students at Kabul's Sorya School

Graham Crouch/World Bank

Bank and ARTF Contribution

The ARTF is the largest single-country multi-donor trust fund the World Bank administers globally. Since early 2002, 33 donors have contributed more than $6.2 billion, making the ARTF the largest contributor to the Afghan budget – for both operating costs and development programs. The ARTF has emerged as one of the main instruments for financing the country’s recurrent budget and investment needs. All investment projects are aligned with the government priorities. They include agriculture and rural development, justice, private-sector development, capacity development, education, urban development, transport, and energy. The ARTF also supports the government’s recurrent cost financing needs; to date more than $2.7 billion has been disbursed to the government of Afghanistan for civil servants’ salaries, and more than $2.9 billion has been made available for investment projects.

Management

The ARTF is managed by the Management Committee (MC) consisting of: Ministry of Finance, the World Bank (as the administrator), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The MC meets regularly in Kabul to carry out the day-to-day business of the fund. The United Nations Mission of Assistance to Afghanistan (UNAMA) serves as an observer to the MC. Once a quarter, ARTF donors meet to discuss broader strategy with the government and ARTF management.

Moving Forward

Afghanistan’s achievements since 2002 have been impressive in many ways. The coming years will be critical to strengthening Afghan institutions’ ability to deliver basic services nationally and consolidate and expand the economic and social development gains made to date. ARTF’s role during this period — beyond the provision of its own resources — must be to continue to make the case for these principles, facilitate donor coordination and dialogue and help the government effectively prioritize and utilize its own resources.

 


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150,000
Teachers trained under the EQUIP project
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