Donors contribute over US$1 billion to support Afghanistan's national budget

Kabul, 10 July 2005 - The 24 donors to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) have contributed over US$1 billion to the fund as of end of June 2005. This amount accounts for ARTF donors' contribution since May 2002.
"The ARTF, operational for over two years now, has demonstrated itself to be a vital mechanism for financing the country's recurrent budget and supporting priority investment and technical assistance programs in line with the Government's agreed priorities," said Alastair J. Mckechnie, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

The ARTF is administered by the World Bank under the supervision of a Management Committee comprising the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Bank.

Since its establishment in May 2002, the fund has supported the recurrent and capital costs of the Government and financed priority investment projects and programs. The fund has been useful in promoting an equitable distribution of international assistance, emphasizing government ownership and leadership of the efforts it supports. It has promoted transparency and accountability of reconstruction assistance, helped reinforce the national budget and reduced the burden on limited government capacity.

The ARTF currently finances 12 investment projects across a wide range including financial management, micro-finance, education, power, water supply and sanitation, telecommunications and roads. The total commitment to investment projects so far is US$183 million of which about US$94 million has disbursed since May 2002. The ARTF also supports the salaries of 240,000 non-security civil servants, mostly in the health and education sectors. Total disbursements for recurrent costs are about US$544 million. Disbursements for SY1384 (21 March 05 - 20 March 06) are expected to total about US$75 million for investment projects and about US$280 million for recurrent costs.

"The fund has now clearly emerged as one of the main instruments for financing this post-conflict country's recurrent budget deficit," said Mckechnie. "It is expected that it will gradually shift from supporting Government's recurrent costs to technical assistance and investment support projects."

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Media contact: Pierre Romand-Heuyer Email: Telephone: 0093 (0) 70 212615