Afghanistan

Cash-Based Transfers in Afghanistan January 2022

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IN NUMBERS

WFP provided USD 36 million in cash-based transfers (CBT) to over 2.6 million people throughout 2021 in support of emergency assistance, school-based programmes and resilience activities.*

  • In 2022, WFP is scaling up to reach nearly 6 million people per month from March to May with cash and voucher assistance

  • For the first time, urban households are suffering from food insecurity at rates similar to rural households

  • CBT supports existing markets and contributes to more equal purchasing power for women

Overview

Families in Afghanistan are facing a series of compounding crises: conflict, lingering effects of drought, climate change,
COVID-19, and economic collapse since 15 August 2021. Food security is deteriorating quickly, with more than half the population of Afghanistan – a record 22.8 million people - facing acute food insecurity, among which 8.7 million are teetering on the brink of famine.

WFP reached more than 15 million people with assistance in 2021, compared to 9 million in 2020. For the first time, urban residents are suffering from food insecurity at similar rates to rural communities as unemployment rises, food and fuel prices soar, and salaries go unpaid.

Currently, most local markets remain functional and the main place where people source their food. Market access has generally improved over the past few months; however, high unemployment and local food price inflation mean that families are increasingly struggling to afford putting food on the table.

Background

WFP is scaling up to reach more than 23 million people in 2022 with emergency food assistance, nutrition and resilience activities. In areas where there are functioning local markets, WFP uses cash-based transfers to empower people with choice to address their essential needs, while also helping boost local businesses and economies. Cashbased transfers include assistance distributed as physical bank notes, mobile money, value vouchers, and commodity vouchers. Cash liquidity remains a challenge and recipients rely on diversified cash disbursement options for different contexts. WFP contracts with financial service providers, such as banks, money transfer/remittance agencies and mobile network operators to deliver this assistance through:

• Direct cash - WFP has partnered with several Financial Service Providers (FSPs) including local banks, mobile money operators (ABMMC, Etisalat), and remittance exchange companies (Western Union). All FSPs go through a strict due diligence process and are vetted against the UN sanctions list.

• Value vouchers – WFP has partnered with Azizi Bank to offer a pre-paid card to beneficiaries which they can use to purchase commodities of their choice at WFPcontracted retailers.

• Commodity vouchers - Commodity vouchers are used in places with less access to markets and can be exchanged for a standard food basket [fortified wheat flour, fortified sunflower oil, pulses and salt]. WFP manages and contracts country-wide distributors and wholesalers who provide end-to-end solutions including commodities procurement, transportation, and last-mile distribution to communities.