World Bank approves $1 billion to fund urgent needs in Afghanistan | Business and Economy News

The funds will be disbursed by the UN and aid agencies, bypassing the Taliban, to alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis.

The World Bank’s board has approved a plan to use more than $1 billion from a frozen Afghan trust fund to fund much-needed education, agriculture, health and family programs. is urgent, the bank said.

The plan, which will bypass the sanctioned Taliban authorities by disbursing the money through UN agencies and international aid groups, will provide a major boost to efforts to mitigate worsening humanitarian and economic crises. of the country, the bank said on Tuesday.

The approach “aims to support the provision 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 bank said in a statement.

The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) was frozen in August when the Taliban invaded Kabul as the last US-led international troops left after 20 years of war.

Foreign governments ended financial aid accounting for more than 70% of public spending, while the United States took the lead in freezing some $9 billion in Afghan central bank funds.

Budget cuts have accelerated an economic collapse, deepening a cash crunch and deepening a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations says has pushed more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million population to the brink of starvation.

The World Bank statement says that initially, ARTF donors will decide on four projects worth approximately $600 million that will address “urgent needs in the education, health and agriculture, as well as community livelihoods”.

There will be “a particular emphasis on the participation and benefit of the support of girls and women”, continues the press release.

The Taliban has reversed gains in women’s rights over the past two decades, including preventing them from working and restricting their movement unless accompanied by a close male relative.

Most girls have not been allowed to go to school beyond grade seven since the Taliban takeover. The group says all girls will be allowed to return to class later this month.