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US to provide $100m for ‘uplift’ projects

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on Monday, the United States will provide US$100 million for developmental projects to the Afghan government.

The MoU was signed between the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the United States Embassy in Kabul. The US government has pledged to provide $800 million under the New Development Partnership proposed by President Ashraf Ghani. The US development assistance is conditional upon the Afghan government’s performance. Kabul will have to bring reforms and fight corruption to receive the assistance.

After signing the memorandum, Minister of Finance, Eklil Hakimi, said that this contribution is different from past development assistances as it would be provided to Afghan government for projects that have been prioritized.

He said the US government pledged to provide $800 million in four years. Washington will provide $200 million annually. The commitment has been made during President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah’s visit to the US in March.

The assistance took place based on mutual commitments. Efforts are underway to receive the remaining $100 million in the coming month, he said, hoping that other donors would also provide direct assistance to the government for economic growth.

The US Ambassador, Michael McKinley, termed the new partnership a significant step towards development of Afghanistan’s infrastructure.

Assuring Kabul of continued assistance, he said the US government would provide the remaining $100 million in assistance this year after the Afghan government met the conditions.

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