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World Bank and ARTF approve three emergency projects totaling $793 million

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(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) Management Committee and the World Bank this week approved three projects totaling $793 million that will provide urgent and essential food, livelihood, and health services to the people of Afghanistan.

According to a statement issued by the World Bank, all three projects will be implemented off-budget out of the interim government’s control, through United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. The activities are coordinated with other multilateral and bilateral funding pledges for Afghanistan, the statement read.

“These projects are designed to help women and girls benefit from project activities. Entry criteria, including the principles of equitable access for women, must be met and funds will be released in two tranches to provide the opportunity for ARTF donors to review progress on the ground and assess whether announced policies of the interim administration continue to allow the participation of women.

“All three projects also have internal fiduciary control and independent monitoring arrangements to ensure that funds are utilized for their intended purposes,” the statement noted.

The Afghanistan Emergency Food Security Project will help in the production of food crops for smallholder Afghan farmers and prevent the further deterioration of food security.

A total amount of $195 million will be released in two tranches: $150 million and $45 million, the World Bank said.

The second project, the Afghanistan Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project will help provide short-term livelihood opportunities and deliver urgent essential services in rural and urban areas.

According to the World Bank, the project aims to provide livelihood and income opportunities for one million households in 6,450 rural communities across Afghanistan and the cities of Bamiyan, Herat, Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Khost, Kunduz, and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Women and vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities and internally displaced people, will receive special assistance, the World Bank’s statement read.

A total amount of $265 million will be released in two tranches: $100 million and $165 million.

The third project, the Afghanistan Health Emergency Response Project will increase the utilization and quality of essential health services in Afghanistan.

This project aims to deliver basic health, nutrition, and COVID-19 services in partnership with national and international service providers, in more than 2,300 health facilities nationwide.

Among the other expected results, the project will help two million children to be fully immunized and more than 1.2 million women will give birth at the health facilities.

A total amount of $333 million will be released in two tranches.

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IEA meets Chinese reps at Mes Aynak copper mine in Logar province

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

Deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund and a number of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) ministers visited the Mes Aynak copper project in Logar on Friday where they met with a delegation from China’s MCC company that won the contract a few years ago to extract the mineral.

The visit on Friday was aimed at discussing the need to start the extraction of copper as soon as possible.

The Chinese company won the Aynak copper contract more than ten years ago and while work was initially started, operations shut down after a while due largely to insecurity at the time.

Baradar meanwhile said during the visit that “in order to improve the progress of Aynak copper mining, more efforts should be made.” He also said that during the mining process, efforts should be made to protect the historical monuments and to avoid causing any damage to them.

Nuruddin Aziz, Minister of Industry and Trade, who was part of the delegation said: “The current situation is a good opportunity to start practical work on Aynak copper project and it is also time to invest in Afghanistan’s mines to save this country from the economic crisis and move it towards economic progress and growth.”

The IEA delegation included Shahabuddin Delawar, Minister of Mines and Petroleum; Nuruddin Aziz, Minister of Industry and Trade; Qari Din Mohammad Hanif, Minister of Economy; Najibullah Haqqani, Minister of Telecommunications; Noorul Haq Anwar, Director General of Affairs Department; Zia ul – Rahman, Minister of Planning and Policy; and Hassamuddin Saberi, Finance and Administrative Deputy of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

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MoIC ships large consignment of Afghan products to Europe

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) says the largest shipment to date of Afghan exports was dispatched on Saturday to Europe.

According to officials, 120 tons was sent overland. Of this seven tons was saffron and the rest was goods that included dried fruits and carpets. The export volume is worth $2 million.

MoIC officials meanwhile stated that they support the businessmen of the country and will help solve their problems but stated the expansion of economic activities depends on investment by businessmen.

“Our country’s products such as dried fruit, saffron and cotton have been sent to European countries many times in the past, as well as to Canada and Australia,” said Qudratullah Jamal, deputy minister of Industry and Commerce.

On the other hand, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) has called on local businessmen to invest in the country.

“Today, a large shipment of 120 tons worth several million dollars is being shipped from Afghanistan, which is not only dried fruit but also saffron, carpets and minerals, which are actually exported to foreign countries via Karachi, Haritaan and Bandar Abbas ports,” said Khanjan Alkozi, a member of the ACCI.

This comes after Afghanistan exported about 12 tons of pine nuts, and eight tons of raisins and pistachios to Germany through Islam Qala port last month.

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Afghan assets moved to Swiss bank generate $36 million: Ahadi

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2022)

The $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets that were transferred to a Swiss-based trust fund have generated $36 million interest, Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi, a member of the fund’s board said this week.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Ariana News, Ahadi said that there have been no disbursments since the fund was created in recent months.

“It has been put in circulation over the last few months. It has generated $36 million interest which are added to the assets. But it is possible that there will be disbursements in the future,” Ahadi said.

The former Afghan central bank chief and former finance minister also suggested that the assets could also be used to provide liquidity to the banking system in Afghanistan.  

“We want to reach an understanding in this regard with the central bank and the finance ministry,” he said.

Ahadi said that the main purpose of establishing the fund is preserving the central bank’s assets.

“After Afghanistan’s relations with the world become normal, the assets will be transferred to the central bank,” Ahadi added.

The $3.5 billion forms part of an original $7 billion being held in the United States following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) takeover in August 2021.

No representative of the central bank is in the board managing the fund. Ahadi said that an advisory committee that will be created later and it will likely have represetnative of the central bank.

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