EU provides €474 million in assistance to Afghanistan
KABUL: The European Union signed a financing agreement worth millions of euros with Afghanistan during a key summit focused on development and the war-torn country’s beleaguered economy, the union said in a statement on Wednesday.
The aid agreement made on Tuesday at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan is worth €474m ($535m) to support state building and public sector reforms, healthcare, law enforcement, and elections – as well as to address migration and displacement challenges in Afghanistan, the source said.
“The EU stands side by side with Afghanistan and its people to build a stronger future for the country,” Neven Mimica, commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, was quoted as saying while addressing the summit.
“Through joint efforts we intend to reduce aid-dependency and invest in democratic governance for the benefit all citizens of the country,” Mimica said.
The two-day summit in Geneva is billed as a platform for the Afghan government to renew its commitment to reform and discuss aid contributions in its bid to achieve stability and security.
The United Nations, which is co-hosting the summit at the city’s Palais des Nations with the Afghan government, said the conference “will also be crucial in measuring results against the $15.2bn committed by the international community for Afghanistan in 2016”.
Within the package, €311m is allocated to support the Afghan government in pursuing its reform agenda, €80 million to improve the health and nutrition of the population, and €15.5m will support the presidential and provincial council elections in 2019.
The EU and the Afghan government also signed a new agreement worth €37m to “reinforce EU assistance to Afghanistan in addressing migration and forced displacement challenges”, which brings the total contribution to almost €230m.
Earlier on Tuesday, UNICEF’s chief of communication in Afghanistan, Alison Parker, warned the situation for children is “dire”, with severe acute malnutrition among children being “among the highest globally with about half a million children affected”.
“The situation is exacerbated by what has been described as the worst drought in decades with some two million people affected, over half of whom are children,” Parker said at the summit in Geneva, adding some “5,000 children have been killed or maimed within the first three quarters of 2018, equal to all of 2017” she said. (Pajhwok)