Kabul: On June 25, 2018, the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank jointly hosted the Steering Committee meeting of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) at the Presidential Palace, where 34 donor countries committed $2.485 billion to support development programs laid out int he Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) and National Priority Programs (NPPs) over the next three years.
The Steering Committee approved the ARTF’s proposed Partnership Framework and Financing Program (PFFP) for the financial years1397-1399 (2018-2020), which outlines how the government will spend those funds with support from international partners. Under the new PFFP, funding will continue to be provided for the priorities in the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, introduced at the 2016 Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. The largest portion of ARTF funds, 37 percent, will be devoted to poverty reduction, service delivery, and citizen engagement, including programs in health, education, and the Citizens’ Charter.
The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi and World Bank Country Director Shubham Chaudhuri. Members of the ARTF Steering Committee in attendance included ambassadors of donor countries and heads of aid agencies. H.E. Minister Hakimi opened the meeting by providing an update on the government’s achievements on commitments made to donors, laid out in donor partnership frameworks. He specifically mentioned the progress in fiscal and budgetary reforms, increased revenue collection, and progress in implementing key ARTF-funded development programs such as the Citizen’s Charter. Minister Hakimi emphasized the continuing importance of the ARTF in allowing the Afghan government to set the priorities for national development, while achieving constructive collaboration with donor countries and agencies. He said the government remains committed to accountability and transparency, and thanked the ambassadors and heads of agencies for their continued support.
“ARTF is an important mechanism for reliable, predictable and transparent on-budget support to the Government of Afghanistan. All planned investments in the PFFP are aligned with our core priorities based on the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework. Through this mechanism we are able to pool aid financing provided by the international community through a single mechanism with higher standards of transparency and accountability,” said Minister Hakimi in his remarks.
Naheed Sarabi, Deputy Minister for Policy at the Ministry of Finance, shared an update on efforts underway to continually align donor funding with government development priorities, and spoke about next steps in implementing key government National Priority Programs. Her presentation outlined the way forward for the ARTF and discussed the importance of aligning on and off-budget funds with the ANPDF.
The ambassadors and head of donor agencies commended the Afghan government for the steps taken to increase accountability, reduce corruption, increase gender equality, improve monitoring and evaluations of the programs, and implement NPPs.
H.E. Minister Hakimi closed the meeting by thanking the donor countries and aid agencies for their continued support, on behalf of the government and the people of Afghanistan. Shubham Chaudhuri, on behalf of the World Bank in Afghanistan, thanked everyone for their support and renewed endorsement of the ARTF.