The three-year-old United Nations-supported Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) has received, as of the end of June, over $1 billion for projects ranging from the recurrent and capital costs of the Government to priority programmes, such as micro-financing, education, power, water supply and sanitation.
The ARTF, established in May 2002 after the ouster of the Taliban regime, is administered by the World Bank under the supervision of a management committee comprising the Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, UN Development Program (UNDP) and World Bank.
"The ARTF, operational for over two years now, has demonstrated itself to be a vital mechanism for financing the country's recurrent budget and supporting priority investment and technical assistance programs in line with the Government's agreed priorities," Alastair J. Mckechnie, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, said.
"The fund has now clearly emerged as one of the main instruments for financing this post-conflict country's recurrent budget deficit. It is expected that it will gradually shift from supporting Government's recurrent costs to technical assistance and investment support projects," he added.
The fund, which has 24 donors, has been useful in promoting an equitable distribution of international assistance, emphasizing government ownership and leadership of the efforts it supports, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a news release.
It has promoted transparency and accountability of reconstruction assistance, helped reinforce the national budget and reduced the burden on limited government capacity, it added.