The World Bank today launched a stakeholder’s consultation to identify economic initiatives to support and sustain peace in Afghanistan once a potential political settlement is reached with the Taliban.
It further said in a statement issued today, August 21, that it has already completed several consultations with international and Afghan stakeholders. “The World Bank is now seeking broader input from all stakeholders and made public several draft documents on its website to facilitate the process,” the statement added.
According to Henry Kerali, the World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, the consultations will serve to show that a peace agreement can bring substantial economic benefits and is interests of the warring parties, to identify potential principles and themes to guide programming decisions following a settlement, and to provide some concrete ideas about the programs that could be initiated to maintain peace.
Kerali also noted that the consultations come at a critical time for Afghanistan. “The World Bank is merely providing technical analysis and is not involved in any negotiations; our priority is to plan for the future of Afghanistan. Peace prospects can improve if the right economic conditions are in place and create job opportunities for those who might otherwise take up arms.”
Kerali also noted that public input would be vital to ensure effective planning.
The World Bank was asked last year in Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, September 27-28, to prepare an inclusive plan for coordinating development projects and international aid to Afghanistan for a post-peace settlement.
This comes days after US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has left Washington for Qatar and Afghanistan to resume a new round of peace talks with the Taliban.