KABUL: The European Union (EU) on Friday announced to grant €1.4 billion for Afghanistan to strengthen development efforts in this country after 2014.
Economic Advisor to Afghan President, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, and the EU development commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, signed the agreement of the aid in Washington DC on the sidelines of World Bank/IFM annual meeting.
Zakhilwal said the aid would development in important sectors of Afghanistan.
Commissioner Piebalgs said the agreement was the evidence of the European Union’s continued long-term commitment to Afghanistan.
“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,” the commissioner said.
He said the fund would help Afghans to improve their livelihoods by creating jobs and supporting Afghan institutions.
He said Afghanistan funding program 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.”
It is said that economy of around 80 percent of Afghans is depended 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.
According to Zakhilwal, the fund would focus on key sectors such as agriculture, rural development, health and rule of law. “It also has part for improving the accountability of the state to its citizens through greater democratization. There is also an incentive component in this grant,” he said.