EU to give Afghanistan 1.4b euros in grant
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The European Union (EU) on Friday announced 1.4 billion euros in grant for Afghanistan to help the war-torn country boost development efforts post-2014.
An agreement to the effect was signed between EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs and economic adviser to President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, in Washington, DC, on the sidelines of World Bank/IFM annual meeting.
“This would boost development in key areas of our economy,” Zakhilwal told Pajhwok Afghan News after signing the agreement.
"This agreement is evidence of the European Union's continued long-term commitment to Afghanistan," said Commissioner Piebalgs.
"Our support is based on lessons learnt through our cooperation with the country and draws on the priorities signaled out by the national authorities. In short, the money will go where it is most needed and could be most effective,” he said.
He said the funds would create conditions necessary to improve Afghan citizens' livelihoods by creating jobs and strengthening Afghanistan's institutions.
Piebalgs said Afghanistan funding programme for the period 2014-2020 was the largest under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). “This exceptional level of support aims to respond to the huge challenges on the ground: Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world.”
About 80 percent of Afghanistan’s population depends on agriculture and associated livelihoods. Seasonal and chronic unemployment are common and increasing.
The bulk of EU funding will be channeled using major trust funds, particularly the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) administered by the World Bank, and the Law and Order Trust Fund (LOTFA) administered by United Nations Development Program.
Zakhilwal said the grant money would be focused on key areas of agriculture and rural development, health, and rule of law. It also has component for enhancing the accountability of the state to its citizens through greater democratization. There is also an incentive component in the grant.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.