Afghan flat bread shop in Herat province of Afghanistan.
Credit: UNDP Afghanistan
Afghanistan has made difficult achievements over the past two decades, including increasing educational enrollment, expanding health services, developing infrastructure, improving regional connectivity and advancing. set from business to gender equality. Last year could be a turning point as peace talks begin, violence has subsided in the early months of the year and donors reiterated their support for Afghanistan. by committing to significant funding and technical assistance.
Unfortunately, a peace agreement has yet to be reached. Violence has increased after the start of Afghan internal talks last September. Improvements in governance and national expansion have been delayed. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, GDP has decreased by 5%, budget deficits have increased, investment has declined, and exports have declined. The UN has estimated that half of the population will need it humanitarian assistance in 2021, six times more than four years ago.
“The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. “In the spirit of that proverb, the government’s Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF II) outline goals and priorities that could turn the tide. To support this effort, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Most recent report on Afghanistan has assessed the current limitations, opportunities and challenges of Afghanistan and proposed a number of policies and programs consistent with the third axis of peace building, state building and planned market building. In ANPDF II.
Peace-building requires peace first. UNDP has estimated that if peace is achieved and complied with over the next four years, GDP in Afghanistan will increase by 7%. This will also increase government revenues and the ability to fund aspirational development and social programs.
State-building requires improved governance, and funds are allocated and used transparently and effectively. Although both are dependent on peace, the problem of corruption needs to be addressed immediately as Afghanistan is among the worst affected countries.
Market construction is crucial to boosting economic growth and improving livelihoods. Combined with a lack of progress towards peace and governance, a relatively rapid population growth compared with low economic growth over the past decade has resulted in per capita income is decreasing and poverty is increasing. UNDP has estimated that while the economy could recover to pre-pandemic levels in the next 2-3 years, per capita income could remain nearly 10% lower in 2024 than in 2019.
UNDP also estimated the potential impact on economic growth of improving the business and investment climate, easing access to credit, reducing trade costs, and improving agriculture. and strengthening governance. If pursued individually, each point can add 1.5 to 2.5 percentage points to economic growth. However, if these policies are pursued in parallel, the GDP could increase more than 40% by 2030 compared to the normal business scenario.
Pursuing the third goal of building a peace / state / market will have significant effects in the medium and long term. At the same time, there is a need to strengthen social protection in the short term because a pandemic may increase poverty rate one third, up to 70 percent. UNDP has estimated the financial costs of a package that includes public works for the working age population, social assistance for the elderly, and cash assistance for internal migrants and those Returns will be less than 2% of GDP and each package can reach 1 million beneficiaries.
The road ahead will not be smooth. International experience with fragile nations shows that peace can come, but conflict may not unfold. Low income countries do the possibility of a return to conflict is high within 5 to 10 years until they reach a per capita income of at least 5,000 dollars. To get there, the Afghan economy will need to grow every year at a steady 8% per generation. Moreover, reaching a peace agreement is not just a matter between the governments of Afghanistan and the Taliban, because there is 20 or so other non-state actors Works both from abroad and domestically.
But change for the better is always possible, if only for necessity makes it inevitable. This year Afghanistan ranked last globally in World Happiness Index and among the lowest by Compulsory social progress and in terms of quality of public service. This is the country most severely affected by violenceOne of the most environmentally threatened countries today and projected to be the least resilient ecological disaster in 2050.
If peace is reached soon, Afghanistan could positively face the future. It can take advantage of its strategic location at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and China, and its wealth of untapped (very few) mineral resources. It has export potential from a number of high value products such as carpets, gems and saffron, and a large under-exploited human resource due to the high unemployment rate and limited role played by Afghan women in the background. economy and public life.
Peace can be nothing other than led by Afghanistan and owned by Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is not alone in trying to break out of the past. UNDP proposals are linked to the ANPDF II and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for which the government and international partners have set priorities and set out the modalities for implementation. UNDP is ready to assist Afghanistan along the way, working with domestic stakeholders and its development partners to make the journey as smooth as possible.