Germany's contribution to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan

Originally published
International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, Tokyo, 20-22 January 2002

1. Preliminary remarks

The World Bank, the United Nations and the ADB estimate that somewhere in the region of US$15 billion will be required over the next ten years to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and support the development of the economy, society and social infrastructure. This means that a Herculean effort is required on the part of the international donor community to mobilise the considerable resources that will be required, particularly in the early stages of the country's fresh start.

Germany is willing to make an appropriate contribution to this. It also recognises the principle of close international co-ordination of development co-operation in Afghanistan under the leadership of the World Bank and the United Nations and supports the three most important co-ordination instruments:

! the Comprehensive Reconstruction and Refugee Framework which will be agreed on by the international community as the most important instrument for co- ordination and liaising on measures financed and implemented at bilateral and multilateral level,

! the international Trust Fund administered by the World Bank, the UNDP, the ADB and the IsDB for financing priority investments, contributing a part of the recurrent costs of the interim authority and the future government and providing for any other important investments for which no other funding is available,

! the UNDP Afghan Interim Administration Fund, which will fund the core tasks of the interim authority for the first six months.

Germany's contribution to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan will also be integrated into the European Union's overall effort to support Afghanistan. This paper is Germany's contribution towards the co-ordination of international development co-operation that will take place at the donor conference being held in Tokyo from 21 to 22 January. The proposed focuses of the German contribution, listed below, are open to revision following consultations with our Afghan partners and in consideration of the contributions to be made by other donors, especially the.3 European Commission and the EU member states, in consideration of further findings gained by the "Preliminary Needs Assessment for Recovery and Reconstruction" drawn up by the World Bank, the United Nations and the ADB and also in the light of the Comprehensive Reconstruction Framework that is to be agreed on by the international community. Germany would also welcome a division of labour with other donors on specific projects.

2. Germany's relations with Afghanistan

In the 1960s and 1970s, Germany was the third largest bilateral donor of development co-operation in Afghanistan (education, health, water supply, agriculture, infrastructure; at times, over 200 German experts and development workers). From the time it began development co-operation with Afghanistan until the occupation in 1979, Germany provided a total of almost 360 million EURO in development funds. There was a German high school in Kabul up until the late 1970s and thousands of Afghans studied in Germany as part of twinning arrangements between universities.

This special history and the flexible range of instruments used in German development policy provide both sides with an excellent basis for working together on emergency aid and the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

3. Fundamental thrust and principles of German support

Germany has a great deal of experience in all areas of humanitarian aid, developmental relief, reconstruction and development and a number of specialist instruments for dealing with them. However, the exceptional situation that currently prevails in Afghanistan demands that rapid support should target all areas in a parallel and co-ordinated way. Germany will therefore apply its range of instruments in various different areas rapidly and effectively and in close co-ordination with other members of the donor community, based on a division of labour. Afghanistan has been accorded the status of a "priority partner country" within German development.4 co-operation. This means that future bilateral development co-operation will concentrate on three priority areas. In addition to this, Germany will also provide broad-ranging support for the non-governmental development co-operation of numerous German, and other, agencies in a variety of areas.

Within the international co-ordination process (and particularly at the founding conference of the Steering Group in Washington), Germany has also advocated that certain fundamental principles for international support be respected: ! that the Afghan partner should take a leading role in the process of reconstruction and development;

  • that the World Bank and United Nations act as lead agencies in the co-ordination of reconstruction and development;
  • that international support be balanced in regional and ethnic terms;
  • that the potential of Afghan and international non-governmental organisations be used;
  • that there be close international co-ordination;
  • that the participation of women and young people in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan be especially fostered;
  • that a code of conduct for the recruitment of Afghan staff be agreed on and implemented;
  • that the special potential offered by the Afghan diaspora be used by integrating Afghan exiles into the reconstruction process as much as possible.
4. Priorities and instruments

So as to be able to rapidly prepare and co-ordinate its support, Germany has made the appropriate institutional provisions and created the necessary posts by:

  • appointing a special envoy for Afghanistan and establishing a special task force for Afghanistan at the Federal Foreign Office
  • appointing a special commissioner for the reconstruction of Afghanistan at the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ).5
  • establishing a working party on the reconstruction of Afghanistan at the BMZ (with the participation of the Kreditanstalt f=FCr Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the Gesellschaft f=FCr technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ))
  • sending desk officers to the German Embassy in Kabul to co-ordinate humanitarian and reconstruction aid
  • opening a joint GTZ-KfW office in Kabul.
Germany is supporting programmes in the fields of humanitarian aid and food, emergency and refugee aid so as to provide immediate relief. Emergency humanitarian aid aimed at helping the people in need simply to survive in the immediate term will remain a high priority within the German government's package of measures for the foreseeable future. Germany already provided 22 million EURO in bilateral emergency aid to Afghanistan in 2001 and further funding is earmarked for this purpose in 2002. These funds are to be used mainly for basic health care, the repair of shelter for refugees and displaced people, supplementary foodstuffs and improved water supply. Another matter of urgent importance for the country's reconstruction and the return of refugees and displaced people is to avert the dangers posed by mines and unexploded ordnance. Germany plans to provide funds for humanitarian mine clearance, which includes educating the public about the dangers of mines (mine awareness) and caring for mine victims.

Food, emergency and refugee aid is the bridge between the emergency humanitarian aid that was already being provided under the Taliban regime, which amounted to US$200-300 million per year from all donors and for which Germany provided 28 million EURO in 2001 alone, and more long-term, sustainable development projects. It has the advantage of tackling the emergency directly and not requiring a long advance process of administrative planning (e.g. studies, government agreements, project agreements via exchange of notes). This not only enables food to be brought to starving people but it also allows a minimum degree of social provision and infrastructure to be created, or restored, for the needy population. In this first phase, help should be provided for securing the drinking water supply, particularly in rural areas, and for resuming or improving social services (health, education). Particular attention should be paid to women and.6 children. At the same time, assistance will be given in establishing food security, such as by supplying seed and food and by restoring rural irrigation systems. These measures will be undertaken by the Gesellschaft f=FCr technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), non-governmental organisations and the Word Food Programme (WFP). Whilst there can be a smooth transition from humanitarian aid to developmental relief and the two can, for the most part, run parallel with each other, the transition to normal medium-term development co-operation requires thorough advance planning. Experience of reconstruction in other regions has, however, shown that here, too, it is possible to react rapidly by means of open programmes and measures with immediate impact. Here, the urgently required restoration of drinking water supply and sanitation in the cities and the resumption of social services (such as basic health posts and schools) should be undertaken. A GTZ and KfW expert mission was immediately sent in November 2001 to make preparations for such measures, another KfW mission visited Kabul in January 2002.

German support will focus on sustainable and more long-term projects, initially in the sectors of (basic) health, (basic) education, the development of structures based on the rule of law, the development of the private sector and the promotion of civil society. It is envisaged that, in the medium term, bilateral official development co- operation will concentrate on three priority areas. As a cross-cutting task, a particular focus will be placed on supporting the participation of women in the development process in terms of the economy, society and the social infrastructure. The Taliban regime's skewed interpretation of Islam meant that in the past women were seriously discriminated against and they now have a lot of catching up to do in terms of participation. In addition to this, use should be made of the potential contribution that exiled Afghans now wishing to return could make to the reconstruction process.

Germany will also offer its support in the fight against international crime, particularly the drug trade.

5. Germany's direct contributions to the international programme of reconstruction

Germany's direct contributions to the international reconstruction of Afghanistan will be based on the "Preliminary Needs Assessment for Recovery and Reconstruction" drawn up by the World Bank, the United Nations and the ADB. The programmes to be financed and implemented will be mainly concerned with the following sectors:

Health and drinking water supply

Support is particularly urgently needed in the health sector, which also includes access to clean water. Even before the armed conflict, the health sector in Afghanistan was in a poor state. The country was recently ranked 169th out of 175 in the Human Development Report. With one health facility per 100,000 people, health care cannot be described as adequate. Child mortality is estimated by the World Bank to be 165 per 1000 births, the highest in the world. 257 out of 1000 children (i.e. more than a quarter!) die before reaching their fifth birthday. The maternal mortality rate stands at 1,700 per 100,000 births, with qualified staff attending only 9% of all births. Life expectancy is just 40. The water supply situation is also alarming: only 19% of the population in urban areas has access to clean water. In rural areas, that figure is even lower. The figures are particularly alarming given the country's population growth rate of over 3%.

Through its development co-operation, Germany will help to restore functioning water supply facilities, particularly in Kabul and other towns and cities. The planned construction measures are to be complemented by the supply of repair materials and spare parts and the provision of the support required in terms of human resources. Health care for the population, particularly basic health care, is a priority. This includes the rehabilitation and equipping of medical facilities providing primary health care. It is planned to supply medicines and human resources through the programmes.

Basic education

As a result of armed conflict and the Taliban regime's deliberate neglect of girls' education in particular, Afghanistan's educational establishments are in a very poor state. World Bank estimates put enrolment rates at 39% for boys and just 3% (!) for girls. In secondary education, the picture is even worse. As a result, the literacy rate stands at just 31% of the adult population, and for women the figure is just 15%.

Many schools have been destroyed or, after many years of neglect, have become derelict. The exodus of, above all, graduates from the country in the last 20 years means that teachers are in short supply. Female teachers, who were forced out of the profession, must now be reintegrated and their skills brought up to date.

Furthermore, under the Taliban regime, the training of male teachers had a religious and fundamentalist bias. Training is therefore also urgently required for them, too. The absolute priority of the programmes funded by Germany is to restore and repair schools, to provide furniture and teaching materials and to second and provide human resources. By seconding qualified integrated experts and development workers, it is hoped to help Afghanistan develop the necessary institutional capacity.

Development of the private sector/financial sector/microfinance institutions The structures for productive forms of private enterprise in Afghanistan have been largely destroyed; the private sector is concentrated mainly on trade and bartering.

During the war, most capable entrepreneurs with a sense for market development left the country. The banking system has ceased to exist. The International Monetary Fund has offered to help Afghanistan build up a central monetary institution and build up the banking system.

Productive private enterprise can only be revitalised in Afghanistan if a functioning credit system is re-established. Germany plans to make a contribution to this by supporting the development of an effective microfinance institution. It is planned to provide equity capital to enable the bank to equip itself with hardware and to provide it with an initial basis for building up a credit portfolio. Institutional support will also be.9 provided as part of these measures. Women and young people are important target groups and are to be involved in the programme.

Development of state structures

Following the end of the Taliban regime and the armed conflict, the interim administration finds itself in an extremely difficult situation. Afghanistan has no tax base and no functioning administrative system. In addition to financing recurrent costs, the most urgent task is to establish functioning, efficient and democratically controlled state structures and decision-making processes in all policy areas. In addition to this, a functioning financial system (taxes, customs) must be established as soon as possible so that even the interim administration can generate state income of its own. An important initial step has been taken with Germany's contribution of 2 million to the Afghan Interim Administration Fund for financing the start-up costs for central governmental tasks being performed by the Afghan interim administration. A contribution to the World Bank-UNDP-ADB-IsDB reconstruction Trust Fund will provide further support for state activities. This is, however, linked to progress on the implementation of the Petersberg agreement.

Targeted bilateral programmes to support specific governmental or administrative tasks are in preparation and agreement should be reached on them with the Afghan partners as quickly as possible.

Demobilisation/ promoting civil society/ rule of law

Decades of war and civil war have left their mark on Afghanistan. One key task is therefore to demilitarise Afghan society and make it more of a civilian society. This involves not only demobilisation and the destruction of weapons, and small arms in particular, but also the building up of a capable civil society, peaceful conflict management, the establishment of a democratic structure based on the rule of law for managing and controlling the security sector and the promotion of respect for the rule of law among the security forces. Through its bilateral and multilateral contributions, Germany wishes to help in the reform of the security sector and control of small arms and to support projects to promote human rights and strengthen.10 democracy. It will focus in particular on the support and reintegration of traumatised women and children, in particular child soldiers. This support will also include non- governmental measures. Germany will support the work of the political foundations, development workers and peace experts from the Civil Peace Service with the aim of strengthening the potential for self-help and civil society, democracy and the rule of law, civil conflict management and the media. Given the long history of conflict in Afghanistan, particular attention should be devoted to the effect that all measures have on the structures of this traditional society.

The Petersberg Agreement ("Agreement on provisional arrangements in Afghanistan pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions") emphasises the great importance of creating a legal framework based on the rule of law (with the main aspect being the drawing up of a new constitution for Afghanistan) and the development of the judicial system. New legal standards can, however, only be introduced if, in the medium to long term, an independent Afghan judiciary can be established that is accessible to all sections of the population. Germany is willing to be involved in such a programme.


The Taliban systematically stripped women of their rights and discriminated against them. At the same time, during the civil war women not only had to take on a considerable burden but also a new role within society. Today, harnessing the enormous potential of Afghan women in the process of reconstruction and development is not only a necessity but a historic opportunity. Women, who were never involved in the fighting in Afghanistan, are particularly well placed to act as the driving force behind the peace process.

Within the German programme of support, the promotion of women will be accorded particular importance as a cross-cutting task. There are also plans for specific measures to promote women, with programmes planned in such areas as vocational retraining, the establishment of a legal advice centre and direct support for economic activities by means of a fund for small projects.

Returnees programme

A total of 5 million Afghans have left their country and are living under extremely difficult conditions in neighbouring countries (2 million in Iran, 3 million in Pakistan). Germany greatly appreciates what is being done by the neighbouring countries that have offered refuge to these people. It is participating in international aid programmes to support these refugees and will continue to do so. However, it is important that the human potential of these refugees and displaced people be used for the process of reconstruction in Afghanistan. Germany will therefore, above all, be supporting relevant returnee programmes that primarily promote employment. The need to use the potential of Afghans living abroad also applies to the some 90,000 Afghans living in Germany. Given that these people are highly educated, their skills could be put to particularly good use. Germany intends to make use of this potential and is preparing a relevant programme to support returning skilled professionals in taking up employment or starting their own businesses.

Establishing police structures and fighting drug cultivation

The basic prerequisite for sustainable development is the restoration of internal security in accordance with the Petersberg agreements. Germany is willing to take on particular responsibility for the development of the Afghan police force. It is planned that an expert mission will begin preparing such measures in late January. Given the current situation, this assistance can initially only be concentrated on the region around Kabul. The aspects focused on will probably be training (particularly training for trainers and senior officers), complemented by the provision of related equipment. The German government will co-ordinate all further steps closely with the United Nations and the training provided will place particular emphasis on human rights and the fight against drugs.

The German government was concerned to hear reports that opium cultivation has been resumed in Afghanistan, which used to be responsible for up to 80% of the world's poppy production. Its reconstruction aid is tied to the expectation that the interim administration will institute effective control mechanisms and put a stop to.12 production. This is not only a matter of the donor countries' own interests; the stabilisation of the country and its development as a state based on the rule of law, which is the aim of reconstruction aid, cannot be achieved if economic activity is largely based on crime. The German government is willing to support measures in the field of drug control (law enforcement). These will be designed with close reference to the aforementioned support for the development of the Afghan policy force.

6. Support for international programmes

In the medium term, planning and implementation capacities in Afghanistan will be limited. Yet the suffering of the population demands that rapid and effective action be taken to ensure that at least their most basic needs are met and that a basic infrastructure is re-established. The main thing is therefore to combine the support being provided by the donor community and to co-ordinate it effectively. Germany will therefore not only integrate its measures into the international reconstruction effort but will also contribute to the programmes agreed on and implemented at international level.

The German government has contributed 2 million EURO to the UNDP's Afghan Interim Administration Fund and will also be contributing 18 million EURO to the international reconstruction Trust Fund being administered by the World Bank, UNDP, ADB and IsDB. The German government will campaign for as many donors as possible, including the EU, to be involved in the Fund.

Germany will also be supporting the activities of UN special bodies in Afghanistan. It plans to make contributions to:

  • the UNHCR's aid to refugees and displaced persons,
  • UNESCO programmes on basic education and the restoration of Afghanistan's cultural heritage,
  • UNICEF measures to save lives, its "back to school" campaign, and its reintegration of child soldiers, including trauma counselling,
  • UNDP/BICC measures on the control of small arms,
  • UNOCHA measures (in co-operation with MAPA) on mine clearance,
  • UNDCP programmes on combating drugs,
  • WFP programmes on food security and rehabilitation.