Washington: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a $200 million grant to help Afghanistan mitigate COVID-19 impacts and provide relief to vulnerable people and businesses.
The Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant comprises $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and $100 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), managed by the World Bank on behalf of 34 donors.
The Afghanistan COVID-19 Response Development Policy Grant will support the government of Afghanistan to strengthen policies that promote faster recovery and keep basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, and telecommunications afloat and running.
“The program will provide vital fiscal resources to manage the impacts of the pandemic in the context of rapidly slowing economic growth and declining government revenues,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. “Policy actions supported by the program will both help mitigate the impacts of the current crisis on the poor and vulnerable and also lay critical foundations for longer-term recovery. The World Bank will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan through this crisis.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse health, social, and economic impacts in Afghanistan, shrinking the economy and driving down public revenue. The grant will support changes in regulations to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, protect healthcare workers, and raise awareness on gender-based violence in schools. It will also support plans to encourage students to return to school when educational institutions are to reopen after the COVID-19 crisis.