This week, Afghanistan’s leaders are headed to Brussels. They are going to attend a conference where participants will pledge to help the country. It is not the first time the country seeks financial help. The country relies heavily on foreign aid. The amount that Afghanistan is in the billions of dollars.
Aid will most likely be granted to Afghanistan, even though the country is facing serious problems. The Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is growing more and more powerful. The country is also plagued by corruption that can be encountered on many levels.
Afghanistan Relies Heavily on Foreign Aid
The conference is going to take place in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday. The diplomatic team from Afghanistan is headed by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. At the conference, Afghanistan hopes to secure pledges that would total around $3 billion a year. The country already receives substantial foreign aid. It receives $5 billion a year, most of it from the United States. The money usually goes to covering costs for defense. The last conference for Afghanistan took place in Tokyo in 2012. At the donor conference, Afghanistan secured foreign aid of around $4 billion a year. The donors granted the money in subsidies for development.
Afghanistan has been in a war for decades now. During the intervention led by the United States and NATO, money flowed into the region. Over a period of fifteen years, billions of dollars made their way to Afghanistan. This created a sort of false economy that actually registered growth. But in 2014, the drawdown of troops caused that so-called economy to almost collapse. After 2014, international agencies and aid groups either left the country or scaled back their operations. That meant less money coming into the country. If Afghanistan relying so heavily on that money, the economy suffered a lot.
Progress Necessary for Aid to Work
Estimates say that unemployment in Afghanistan is as high as 50 percent. With deteriorating security there is very little foreign investment. Key sectors like infrastructure and mining lack the necessary investments. Without capital the region is stuck and development is stagnating. Many of the young people of Afghanistan have given up on their home country. They have set on a long and dangerous trail to Europe. Reaching the European Union, they have enlarged the numbers of migrants already seeking a better life.
Afghanistan is facing multiple problems, the most important one being the Taliban. A close second is endemic corruption within the country. But Afghanistan’s leaders know that the donors at the conference want to see change. So, in all likelihood, President Ashraf Ghani is going to say that there has been progress since 2012. He will likely point to improvements in key areas such as corruption as well as judicial reform and electoral reform.
Javid Faisal is a spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. He said that the country’s leaders are aware that Afghanistan can no longer receive a blank check. Javid Faisal said that this time the support that the country receives must go to the right places, that money must get into the right hands. He emphasized the need for accountability on Afghanistan’s part and said that the country will endeavor to be more accountable in the future.
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