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Oxfam calling on Tokyo Conference Participants to Sustain Aid to Afghanistan

in Afghan Business

Oxfam calling on Tokyo Conference Participants to Sustain Aid to Afghanistan

Ahead of a vital donor conference in Tokyo this week, Oxfam is calling on governments represented at the summit to maintain levels of aid to the country and ensure this aid reaches the Afghan men, women and children who need it most.

The international aid Agency warned that Afghanistan’s already sluggish economy that mostly runs on international aid would be severely hit after 2014 when foreign troops withdraw from the country, Afghanistan’s biggest donor, the USA, having already dramatically cut development aid by nearly half in 2011 (from USD 4.1bn to USD 2.5 bn).

The World Bank has estimated the international aid to drop by 90% by 2025.

Oxfam highlighted significant developments that have taken place since the establishment of the new government in 2011. The life expectancy for men has increased from 47 to 62 and for women from 50 to 64 years. Health institutions are easily accessible. There have been significant gains in education with more than 2.7 million girls enrolled in school compared to just a few thousand under the Taliban.

However, Afghanistan remains to be one of the poorest countries despite the inflow of USD 60 billion worth of aid into Afghanistan since 2001. A big portion of the aid has been tied to military objectives, with little amount spent on long term development goals.

“Any significant cuts in support could have dire consequences on Afghan people and we cannot let this happen. While the past 11 years have seen substantial progress, millions of Afghans still lack adequate healthcare, schools, jobs, or law and order. A good hard look at the way aid is spent in Afghanistan is long overdue. Donors  need to work harder to address the needs of women and girls, involve local communities in development projects, increase anti-corruption efforts, and ensure projects are designed to be smart, fair and sustainable,” said Oxfam’s Louise Hancock, head of policy and advocacy in Afghanistan.

Oxfam warned that although many Afghan women and girls have seen positive changes to their lives, these gains remain fragile. Women and girls still lack access to justice or even basic services: one woman continues to die in Afghanistan every two hours from pregnancy related causes.

Hancock added: “Aid must work much better for women and girls over the next decade. Women have an important role to play in driving development in Afghanistan and helping to create a stable and prosperous country for all Afghans.  Donors must ensure women are part of decisions made about the future of their county, from projects in their communities to political processes at the highest level.

“Afghanistan stands at a crossroads, and at Tokyo critical decisions need to be made. Now is not the time to pull back. It is the time to learn from our mistakes and deliver aid projects that the Afghan people need – ones that will have lasting benefits. If we do not, everything that has been achieved at such great cost could be lost.”

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