By the end of the Transformation Decade (2015 – 2024), during which time comprehensive reforms are to be carried out, Afghanistan should have achieved ‘normal’ developing country status. In other words, while Afghanistan will still be reliant on substantial foreign aid, it will by then be in a position to fund its public budget to a large extent from its own internal revenues and assume full financial responsibility for its security. Currently, Afghanistan is not in a position to pay for sustainable development from its own resources.
The Afghan-German Cooperation contributes to the stabilisation and development of the country. Its purpose is to help build an Afghan state which will be recognised by its citizens as the legitimate representative of their interests and provider of services that meet their basic needs. The international donor community is supporting Afghanistan as it moves towards more self-reliance and is monitoring the reform processes and progress towards the agreed objectives. For these objectives to be achieved, the Afghan Government must be in a position to offer its people prospects for a life without poverty and extremism.
At the Tokyo Conference in 2012, the international community pledged to continue its civilian engagement in Afghanistan until 2024. At the London Conference in 2014, Afghanistan’s President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani announced his plans for extensive reforms. At the biannual Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on 5 September 2015, the Afghan Government reported on progress with the implementation of these reforms. On this basis, a new reform package was agreed with the international community and will be used to measure the Afghan Government’s performance over the coming years. The reform plans were subsequently incorporated into a single policy document, entitled Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF). Based on the SMAF and the agreed reform objectives, the international community held a conference in Brussels in October 2016, where it promised Afghanistan financial assistance of up to USD 15.2 billion for civilian reconstruction for 2017 – 2020. Germany has pledged to continue funding civilian engagement by providing EUR 430 million annually until 2020 (BMZ: EUR 250 million; German Federal Foreign Office: EUR 180 million). However, this funding is conditional upon the Afghan Government making progress on implementing the reform agenda, particularly in the fields of human rights, gender, the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
Based on the agreements reached between the Afghan Government and the donor community, the following fields of action are the focus of the German Government’s Country Strategy for Afghanistan:
- Offering the prospect of jobs as protection against extremism
Every year, around 800,000 young people enter the labour market. Measures to promote employment and create jobs will help to give them a more secure future.
- Building a future through education and vocational training
A good education and vocational training are the basis for access to employment and political participation. Quality basic and vocational education will improve people’s opportunities to shape their own lives.
- Delivering justice through good governance
Well-performing public authorities, administrations and institutions safeguard public order, peaceful social relations and legal certainty. Measures to improve the performance of the legal system and local governance will build these bodies’ expertise and capacities to perform their functions in a transparent manner, combat corruption and empower women.
- Staying in touch with the people – even outside the cities
Three out of four Afghans live in rural areas, and two thirds of the labour force work in agriculture. Rural communities will be given swift and effective support that focuses on promoting employment, mainly in the northern provinces, but also in other parts of the country.
- Promoting and challenging – speaking with one voice
Germany engages in close consultation with the international community on the support that it provides to Afghanistan. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) expects Afghanistan to make significant and substantial progress in the fields of human rights, gender, the rule of law and the fight against corruption.