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    Japan, UN announce $281m aid to Afghanistan

    KABUL (PAN): Japan and the UN on Thursday announced $281 million of assistance to Afghanistan for 14 projects to be implemented by nine agencies of the world.

    A contract to the effect was signed in Kabul, with Minister of Refugees Jamaher Anwari and Japan’s Ambassador Hiroshi Takahashi in attendance.

    Also present on the occasion were Yoshikazu Yamada, resident representative of JICA, Mark Bowden, UNAMA deputy chief, and other senior officials.

    The assistance, to be spent on the national development priorities identified by the Afghan government, is a part of the commitment made by the government of Japan at the Tokyo Conference in July 2012.

    Ambassador Takahashi said: “The assistance announced today is a part of our commitment we made at the Tokyo Conference. In exchange, I expect the Afghan government to implement their commitment: to show improvement in anti-corruption and women’s empowerment and to conduct free and fair Elections.”

    He also requested the UN agencies and the Afghan government for transparency and accountability in utilising the funds, and to ensure the assistance was delivered to intended beneficiaries.

    The agencies and funds receiving grants are the UNICEF, FAO, UN-Habitat, UNDP, WFP, UNHCR, UNODC, UNMAS and IOM. UNICEF and FAO will implement their projects jointly with JICA.

    UN Resident Coordinator Mark Bowden welcomes the continued and outstanding support from Japan, enabling the UN agencies to work more closely with their government counterparts to deliver services to about 3,600,000 Afghans in health, education and other areas.