New World Bank vice president visits Afghanistan, reassures continued support

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KABUL (TCA) — World Bank’s newly appointed Vice President for the South Asia region, Hartwig Schafer, visited Afghanistan, discussed reforms and development progress in the country, and reassured World Bank’s continued support to the people of Afghanistan, the Bank said on July 31.

Schafer was appointed as the World Bank Vice President for South Asia on July 1, 2018. The region includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan is the first country in the region Hart has visited in his new role.

During his three-day stay in Kabul, he met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, acting Finance Minister Mohammad Hamayoun Qayoumi and other government officials. He also held discussions about Afghanistan development challenges and opportunities with representatives from non-governmental organizations, women community, private sector, and international partners.

“I am delighted to visit Afghanistan and see firsthand how the World Bank is helping the government serve Afghan people in areas such as health, education, citizen empowerment, agriculture, water supply and sanitation, and institutional reforms,” said Schafer. “Despite prevailing security challenges compounded by capacity constraints, the progress across all sectors is encouraging and we commend the government for implementing key policy reforms.”

During his interactions with the Afghan leadership and local and international partners, Schafer reassured them of the World Bank Group’s continued support for Afghanistan , including by working to leverage donors’ resources through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to finance investments and knowledge services that help stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and ensure delivery of services across the country.

The World Bank Group’s program in Afghanistan is currently governed by its Country Partnership Framework for fiscal years 2017-20. The Bank administers the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the World Bank Group’s largest single-country multi-donor trust fund. The ARTF provides grant support to Afghanistan based on a 3-year rolling partnership framework and financing program. Together, ARTF and the International Development Association (IDA, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries) provide more than $1 billion a year in grants ($250 million from IDA and about $800-$900 million from the ARTF). Additionally, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution focused on the private sector development, has committed a total of $54.5 million to Afghanistan. World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has provided guarantees worth $121 million for four projects in Afghanistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA