The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved an expanded approach to support the people of Afghanistan based on the request of Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) donors and the international community. The approach will guide the provision of over $1 billion in funds from the ARTF in the form of recipient-executed grants to selected United Nations agencies and international NGOs and will remain outside the control of the interim Taliban administration.
This follows the transfer-out of $280 million in ARTF funds on December 15, 2021—$100 million to UNICEF and $180 million to the World Food Programme (WFP)—to support the humanitarian response over the critical winter months.
The expanded approach aims to support the delivery of essential basic services, protect vulnerable Afghans, help preserve human capital and key economic and social services, and reduce the need for humanitarian assistance in the future. The ARTF continues to be the main coordination platform for donors, and the World Bank remains committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan.
As a first step, the ARTF donors will decide on four projects of approximately $600 million to support urgent needs in the education, health, and agriculture sectors, as well as community livelihoods, with a strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit from the support.
The World Bank will work closely with ARTF donors and multilateral stakeholders in the coming weeks to finalize the design and funding allocation for these projects. The World Bank’s operational policies apply to activities financed through recipient-executed grant arrangements and the Bank remains engaged in project design and supervision.
This $600 million will be supplemented with additional allocations from the ARTF during 2022 as conditions allow and as decided by the ARTF donors. This phased approach is designed to be flexible and adaptive, recognizing that the situation on the ground remains fluid.
Also, under this approach, the World Bank will continue to produce its Afghanistan Economic Monitor and other analytical work on areas such as the financial sector, the private sector, and poverty under the theme of Afghanistan Futures to engage with the international community and underpin support to the Afghan people.