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Donors pledge $660m to avert Afghan economic crisis

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KABUL: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is planning to raise over $660 million to help prevent from collapse of Afghanistan economy and help reach out to millions of impoverished Afghans.

UNDP has launched the people’s economy fund to provide desperate Afghan with much needed access to cash.

The fund will tap into donations frozen since the Taliban takeover in August. Germany has already pledged $58 million of the more than $660 million required over the next 12 months, UNDP chief, Achim Steiner, told journalists in Geneva.

“There are 38 million people who cannot be kept alive just from the outside”, he said. “We have to step in, we have to stabilise a ‘people’s economy’ and in addition to saving lives, we also have to save livelihoods.

“Because otherwise, we will indeed confront a scenario through this winter and into next year where millions and millions of Afghans are simply unable to stay on their land, in their homes, in their villages and survive.” 

UNDP is now in touch with other donors to mobilise resources, Mr. Steiner added. “Discussions over the last few weeks have focused on how we do find a way to be able to mobilise these resources in view of the economic implosion that is now unfolding and the international community’s repeated commitment not to abandon the people of Afghanistan”.

Last week UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to take action during a “make or break” moment for the country.  While reiterating that “humanitarian assistance saves lives”, the UN chief warned that “it will not solve the problem if the economy of Afghanistan collapses”.  

The fund is designed to contribute to preventing a humanitarian catastrophe and the country’s economy from “completely crashing” by supporting the most vulnerable populations and collapsing micro-businesses in Afghanistan, the agency says.

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