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World Bank provides $200 million for Afghanistan to protect people, support businesses amid COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: July 10, 2020)

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Thursday approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.

In a statement released on Thursday, the World Bank said that the Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.

The Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant will support the government of Afghanistan to strengthen policies that promote faster recovery and keep basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, and telecommunications afloat and running, the statement said.

“The program will provide vital fiscal resources to manage the impacts of the pandemic in the context of rapidly slowing economic growth and declining government revenues,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

“Policy actions supported by the program will both help mitigate the impacts of the current crisis on the poor and vulnerable and also lay critical foundations for longer-term recovery. The World Bank will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan through this crisis,” Kerali added.

The World Bank said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse health, social, and economic impacts in Afghanistan, shrinking the economy and driving down public revenue.

“The grant will support changes in regulations to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, protect healthcare workers, and raise awareness on gender-based violence in schools,” it stated.

The organization added that it will also support plans to encourage students to return to school when educational institutions are to reopen after the COVID-19 crisis.

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 33,908 with 957 and 20,847 recoveries in Afghanistan.

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Three new Herat factories create 500 jobs, mostly for women

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2021)

Three new factories in Herat province have been officially launched with separate production lines now in operation, local officials confirmed.

The factories, and food and dairy; another food; and a cheese factory, worth a total $10 million, will provide 500 new jobs – mostly for women.

Funded by the private sector in the industrial zone of Herat city, the inauguration of the factories was attended by guests including the minister of industry and the governor of Herat.

“With the start of the new production lines, indirectly, thousands of jobs have been created,” said Hamidullah Khadem, head of the Chamber of Industry.

According to local officials, more than 40,000 people are employed by almost 300 factories in Herat’s industrial zone.

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Government to build four dams in Zabul

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(Last Updated On: May 14, 2021)

The Afghan government said Friday that four dams would be constructed in Zabul province in order to help manage waters in the country, local officials said.

According to the officials, the dams – Mizan, Markok, Qaria Aja, and Allaudin – would be constructed at a cost of 132 million AFN.

The officials stated that the dams will be used for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes once the projects are implemented.

Ahmad Gul Rasouli, Governor of Zabul, stated that the dams could also produce between 61 to 77 MW of electricity.

The development comes as the government last month promised to begun constructions of 44 across the country this month.

According to the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority (WARA), the following dams, at an estimated cost of $600 million, would be contracted in 21 provinces.

Aghan Jan in Uruzgan; Mizan, Markok, Qaria Aja, and Allaudin in Zabul; Zardalo, Mullah Cheragh, and Chard in Ghazni; Gromby, Gorbat and Jalrez in Maidan Wardak; Gomal, Gomal Dowom, Zama, and Rustai Mirza in Paktika; Domand in Khost; Kharwar in Logar; Sori Khola in Paktia; Sultan Ibrahim and Qale Sokhta in Sar-e-Pul; Almar and Khisht Pol in Faryab; Rustai Aab in Samangan; Kantiwa and Kala Gosh in Nuristan; Aab Lory in Kandahar; Shoray, and Buzbai in Badghis; Wursaj Socha Maagh in Takhar; Dahane Mohammad Gicha in Bamiyan; Dare Bamsir in Daikundi; Shina, Zardag Bam, and Khair Maidanak in Ghor; Noor Gul and Qata Qala in Kunar; Pang Ziyan, Dare Shrasta, and Surkh in Nangarhar; Buzban in Ghor; Talkhak in Parwan; and Watan Gat in Laghman.

WARA stated that the dams, which will be used for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes, could store around 1,200 million cubic meters of water once the projects are implemented.

Once construction is complete, these dams will also irrigate an estimated 320,000 hectares of land, WARA said.

The Afghan officials said that the projects would also provide employment for thousands of people.

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ADB committed to assisting Afghanistan post troop withdrawal

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(Last Updated On: May 13, 2021)

The Asian Development Bank says it will continue its economic programs in Afghanistan after US and NATO troops have withdrawn.

Officials at the bank said that although the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan will create an economic vacuum, the bank is working to continue its development plans for Afghanistan.

Officials added that they are continuing their projects in the sectors of electricity, transport and agriculture.

“We have a large number of infrastructure projects, and the security of these projects is provided by the Afghan Public Protection Forces, we will continue to work,” said ADB’s Country Director for Afghanistan Narendra Singru.

On the other hand, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce says that there are economic-related concerns about the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, and some problems will remain in this area.

However, economists say continuing ADB projects in Afghanistan could address some of the economic challenges posed by the withdrawal of foreign troops.

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