Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

The German New Aid Welcomed in the Fragile Condition of Afghanistan

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The German New Aid Welcomed in the Fragile Condition of Afghanistan

According to media reports, Germany has agreed to provide additional financial assistance about AFN 5.4 billion to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) via KfW Development Bank. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan where the international community showed solidarity with the Afghan people and government in their efforts for peace and prosperity. From its creation in 2002 until 2017, ARTF, administered by the World Bank, has already benefitted about 11.5 million Afghans. The German government has contributed over AFN 62 billion to the fund till date, making Germany one of the largest bilateral donors.
During the Geneva Conference, the Afghan Minister of Finance, Prof Mohammad Qayoumi, and KfW’s Director, Christian Krämer, celebrated the ARTF Financing Agreement’s signing in the presence of German State Secretary, Martin Jäger. “The ARTF remains a highly relevant instrument for promoting good governance in Afghanistan by enhancing government’s key reform processes and strengthening donor coordination. That is why the German Government, through BMZ (the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), stays committed to its ARTF contributions, and acknowledges that the ARTF continues to evolve with the needs of the country to successfully master self-reliance by 2024,” quoted from Jäger. 
The ARTF provides a coordinated financing mechanism for the Afghan Government’s budget and national priority projects. Additionally, the fund offers a platform for political dialogue between the international community and the Afghan Government. It aims at supporting the Afghan state’s stabilization and contributing to the fight against poverty. The ARTF is active in key sectors such as education, health, agriculture, rural development, and governance.
Among others, the ARTF funds the Citizens’ Charter, one of the Afghan National Priority Programmes. It aims at improving the provision of core infrastructure and social services to communities by strengthening Community Development Councils. Another component focuses on supporting refugees and internally displaced persons as well as communities that host them, benefitting up to 1.5 million Afghans. Until 2021, the Citizens’ Charter shall benefit 8.5 million Afghans, half of them women. AFN 2.6 billion of the German contribution is to be utilized for the charter preferentially.
The Citizen’s Charter is the successor of the National Solidarity Programme that has benefitted about 28.6 million Afghan citizens, half of them women, between 2003 and 2017.On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the KfW manages the German contribution to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). The fund is administered by the World Bank and seeks to stabilize Afghanistan. The ARTF funds a wide range of development activities, carried out via the state budget and thus helps the Afghan government to implement development policies transparently, to fight poverty, to enable greater revenues and to improve economic and social conditions.
Meanwhile, the government of Germany handed over one thousand body armor vests to the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces in Kabul. The Kabul Police Commandment in a statement said the body armor vests were handed over to Kabul Police during a ceremony organized in the Police Commandment of Kabul on Thursday. The statement further added that the body armor vests were handed over as part of Germany’s ongoing support to the Afghan Police forces. The Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Kabul and a representative of Germany’s police had also participated in the ceremony. Kabul Police Chief Gen. Syed Mohammad Roshandil welcomed the delivery of one thousand body armor vests to the police forces and said the new aid will further help in protection of police personnel. Gen. Roshandil further added that the Public Order and Quick Reaction units of the Afghan National Police (ANP) would use the new body armor vests.
Overall, more than 30 donor countries paid almost EUR 8.8 billion into the fund since 2002 but Germany alone has contributed more than EUR 725 million. German financial support for Afghanistan can be continued only provided the Afghan government scales up reforms to fight corruption and reduce poverty, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at the Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan on Wednesday. Our taxpayers can only be asked to continue their contribution, if the Afghan government takes more action on reforms, especially in fighting corruption, reducing poverty and improving conditions for economic development’, Maas said.
Afghan people are also concerned about the effectiveness, transparent implementation and fair distribution of international aid in Afghanistan. Some of these concerns originate from some disparities in the geographical distribution of aid due to military or political reasons while others are related to administrative corruption and poor implementation of the projects. The other common question in Afghanistan is why the large amount of international aid did not bring eye-catching changes in the country. The same question might be asked by the donating people, too.
Finally, both government and friend donors should show their firm will in transparent spending of the aid or else it can be heavily affected by social and political environment in the context of Afghanistan. Given the critical condition of the country, the Afghan government should take the necessary measures to enhance its effectiveness, fairness and transparency of the international aid in Afghanistan. The new German aid is really useful in the current fragile condition provided that we take serious measures against the mentioned issues especially the widespread corruption. Otherwise, what challenged quality of aid in past 17 years, can effect in the future, too. 

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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