The Steering Committee of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank, endorsed at its annual meeting a new four-year partnership and financing program for Afghanistan.
Afghan government officials, ambassadors, and representatives from donor countries, and international organizations discussed how the ARTF will continue to support the Afghan government to advance its development agenda and respond to the negative impacts of COVID-19.
Co-chaired by H.E. Mohammad Khalid Payenda, Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Finance, and Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region.
Mohammad Khalid Payenda, Acting Minister of Finance, in his opening remarks, which focused on the role and importance of the ARTF, said:“The ARTF is the main forum for our dialogue with international partners on development and is the key contributor to Afghanistan’s continuing efforts to bring development benefits to our people. ARTF is more important than ever in the current transition, and we very much welcome the international community’s continued support.”
ARTF is a key source of funding for Afghanistan’s national budget and implementation of the second Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF 2). Through the ARTF, the Government of Afghanistan works with international partners to reduce poverty, deliver essential services, sustain civilian budget operating costs, and implement critical reforms.
Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, said: “The ARTF is the World Bank’s largest and longest-standing single-country multi-donor trust fund. As Afghanistan faces severe impacts from COVID-19 and political uncertainty, the ARTF continues to be instrumental in helping the government maintain the delivery of public services to the Afghan people. Today’s meeting sent a strong signal that the World Bank and ARTF donors will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan at this critical time and protect hard-won gains achieved in the past 20 years.”
The newly-endorsed Partnership Framework and Financing Program (PFFP) 2021 – 2024 guides ARTF investments and outlines how new donor contributions will support the Afghan government’s development agenda and policies.
Developed in coordination with ARTF donors and the Afghan government, the new PFFP adjusts ARTF programs to Afghanistan’s fast-changing context and aligns with the ANPDF 2 and the Afghanistan Partnership Framework principles endorsed at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, while remaining a flexible and adaptable instrument.
The new PFFP focuses on six priorities: gender equality, conflict sensitivity, and climate, and it emphasizes strong fiduciary controls in ARTF projects, strategic technical assistance, and close portfolio monitoring to deliver results.
Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, said: “The Afghan government and the international community need to work together to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve progress in the coming years. The World Bank Group remains committed to working with the Government of Afghanistan and its partners to ensure continued service delivery to the people of Afghanistan in these difficult times.”
The ARTF Steering Committee also endorsed the Country Portfolio Performance Review that has helped ARTF donors identify challenges and opportunities in Afghanistan while developing the ARTF programs for the coming years.
About the ARTF: The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) is a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank on behalf of 34 current and past donors.
It provides on-budget financing to support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s development and reform priorities, and is the single largest source of such funding to the government.
The new Partnership Framework and Financing Program covers FY1400 to FY1403 (2021 to 2024), and it is the fourth four-year financing strategy for the ARTF