US seeks Afghan economic growth on track
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): As the World Bank (WB) projects a sharp decline in Afghanistan economic growth rate in 2013, the US says it is working with the international community to seek sustained assistance to keep the the impoverished country's economy on track post 2014.
“We recognise the civilian needs in Afghanistan will not end with the end of the combat mission this year, and we believe that sustained, significant support for Afghanistan’s government and its people are critical to maintaining the gains of the past decade,” a State Department spokesperson told Pajhwok Afghan News.
“For these reasons, and consistent with our commitments in the Tokyo Declaration, we did seek and will continue to seek sustained levels of economic assistance for Afghanistan at or near the levels the U.S. has provided over the past decade,” the spokesperson said.
The official noted that stability required progress on both security and political goals, and must be matched by effective governance, the advancement of the rule of law, human rights and economic progress.
“Our assistance programs through transition are focused on building the capacity of Afghan institutions to sustain the gains of the last decade and sustain economic growth,” the official said.
For example, US assistance will support economic growth and job creation through programs to increase government revenue, provide broad business vocational training for new private sector employment and to increase the value of agriculture production and sales.
“The United States will also continue to help the government maintain the gains made in health and education over the last decade to improve economic prospects for all Afghans,” the spokesperson said.
The United States, the spokesperson said, also recognizes that its assistance levels to Afghanistan will and should come down over time, as Afghans increasingly build a sustainable economy, strong governance, and transparent and accountable public institutions.
In its report, the WB said the withdrawal of international forces will affect Afghanistan, as previously donor-financed expenditure will need to be financed from budget expenditure.
“Afghanistan’s GDP growth is projected at 3.5 percent for 2014 (a slight improvement from an estimated 3.1 percent in 2013), before rising gradually to around five percent as the security situation stabilizes and mining projects come online,” the WB added.
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