Since the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in January 2002, Afghanistan has been the single largest recipient of Canadian bilateral aid with pledges of more than $616 million in reconstruction and development assistance. Delivered through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canada's assistance supports priorities identified by the Afghan government in its National Development Framework. Current support is focused on interventions in the areas of governance, rural livelihoods, and support to the Government of Afghanistan.
CIDA fully supports the deployment of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to Kandahar in Summer 2005. The PRT will work to stabilize the Kandahar region and, in turn, foster development efforts. Concerned with long-term sustainability, the PRT will focus on building the capacity of the provincial government, with an emphasis on the security sector.
CIDA will have one representative deployed with the PRT who will report to the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. This development officer will administer a Security Sector Reform Fund, leverage the efforts of other development actors, advise other government departments on development issues, and support the roll-out of national level programs throughout the region.
The Security Sector Reform Fund will support small-scale initiatives in the Kandahar province in areas such as policing, counter narcotics, justice reform, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. The Fund (whose size is to be determined over the next few months) will be drawn from the current allocation for Afghanistan ($250 million from 2005-2009). CIDA will work with international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), other government departments, Government of Afghanistan representatives, and Afghan citizens to identify and implement these initiatives.
Canada, through CIDA and in collaboration with the appropriate departments, will also continue to deliver national development programming that will complement the PRT efforts in the Kandahar region.
Development initiatives undertaken in Afghanistan demonstrate continuity and coherence in Canada's commitment to supporting long-term stability and prosperity in the country. Each initiative brings important benefits whether it is combating the narcotics trade, countering the devastating effects of drought, or improving access to financing for rural and urban families.
Specific results of CIDA-funded initiatives include:
- More than 62,000 former combatants have been disarmed and demobilized through the CIDA-funded Afghan New Beginnings Program. Under the program, former soldiers selected reintegration packages to enable them to slowly return to a new civilian life. Training programs included initiatives in agriculture, tailoring, teaching, and demining.
- The Microfinance Investment and Support Facility (MISFA), which is one of the Afghan government's top priorities, expanded the existing microfinance network in Afghanistan and provides a range of financial services, including loans for income generation and enterprise development, savings services, and consumer loans to low-income people, particularly women. Canada is the lead donor to this program, one of the largest microfinance schemes in the world, and one which has reached almost 100,000 clients so far, 91 percent of whom are women.
- The Government of Afghanistan has asked Canada to be the sole donor for the National Priority Programmes Co-ordination Unit within the Government of Afghanistan. Through this project, CIDA is helping the government of Afghanistan to direct its resources and programs into the provinces where it will have the greatest strategic reach and impact. It will also help the Government of Afghanistan extend the positive reach of the central government to rural Afghanistan.
- More than 8,000 villages have been identified for funding through the National Solidarity Program, enabling an estimated 140,000 families to access basic rural infrastructure.
- More than 9,000 pieces of heavy weaponry such as artillery, tanks, and rocket launchers have been surrendered and returned to central government control. These weapons are the same that bombarded Kabul and other major cities in Afghanistan for months and killed thousands. This impressive achievement was made possible by very close collaboration between development and political officers from the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, and Canadian military personnel based in Afghanistan.
Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: (819) 953-6534
Web site: www.cida.gc.ca