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World Bank Approves Additional $84 Million for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved an additional $84 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, April 30th, the World Bank said that the additional funds will enable the project to expand its reach to include more rural and urban areas. Additionally, it will improve livelihood opportunities for women, intensify efforts to strengthen climate resilience and offer employment opportunities and services to returning Afghan migrants.

The Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project commenced in 2022, initially funded with a $265 million grant from the Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund (ARTF). Its objectives are to offer livelihood support and services in both rural and urban areas, facilitate social grants for women and the most vulnerable, and reinforce community institutions to ensure inclusive service delivery.

“In the past 18 months, the project has laid the foundation for an effective service delivery platform and operational model at scale for delivering jobs, providing essential services and assets, and, importantly, reaching women,” said Melinda Good, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

“With the additional financing, the project will continue its essential works in all six regions of the country, 26 of the 34 provinces, 67 rural districts, 6,200 rural communities, and eight major cities,” she added.

Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated since the collapse of the Western-backed republic government and the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August 2021. Over the past two years, the situation has further worsened due to natural disasters like earthquakes, flooding, landslides, and recent heavy rainfall, resulting in the loss of dozens of lives and significant financial setbacks.

Last year, in a report, the World Bank warned about economic instability in Afghanistan, highlighting a lack of growth prospects. The World Bank emphasized that Afghanistan’s economy is fragile, heavily dependent on foreign aid, and its private sector is weak.

“To recover, the country needs to prioritize spending on human capital, basic services, and climate resilience and address harmful gender policies,” World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan said.

Women and children face even greater obstacles due to the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s access to education, employment, and freedom of movement. The extremist regime has prohibited women from working in most sectors and shut down most of women-owned businesses, including beauty salons that employed thousands of women, often the sole breadwinners in their families.

The UN estimates that this year, 23.7 million people, over two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population requires humanitarian aid, with a significant portion being women and children. However, it emphasizes that due to insufficient funding, it will be unable to assist all those in need.

The World Bank says that to date, the Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project has provided short-term employment to over 776,000 households, benefiting around 5.4 million people in Afghanistan. Additionally, about 92,200 vulnerable households received cash transfers or in-kind social grants, with a significant portion being female-headed households or those with disabled members.

“Approximately 7.4 million Afghans gained access to services like roads, sanitation, and water supply, and more than 2.1 million community members received training in health and nutrition, the effects of climate change and disaster risk management.”