The UK government intends to create more than 50,000 new jobs for Afghan men and women by 2015 in sectors such as business, agriculture and textiles.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has published its annual operational plan for Afghanistan with an additional focus on job creation, and women and girls. The new commitment to jobs builds on the 20,000 created since 2011 through DFID programmes.
DFID has also made eliminating violence against women and girls a new strategic priority in Afghanistan. This commitment means DFID will look at incorporating anti-violence initiatives into existing and future programmes, as well as looking at how it can work better with civil society organisations and the international community to make a lasting difference to the lives of those experiencing violence.
The UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
“UK support in Afghanistan has already brought major improvements over the last ten years. We have been clear that we will continue to stand alongside Afghans as they shape their country beyond military drawdown, with development funding already committed to 2017.
“Now, along with work to help create jobs and drive economic growth, I am determined we will do more to help eliminate violence against girls and women. Girls and women have a vital role to play in shaping the future of their country and much more must be done to enable them to do so, free from fear of violence.
“For their part, on behalf of its people the Government of Afghanistan must now maintain momentum on vital reforms including credible elections, tackling corruption and protecting and upholding women’s rights.”
The new focus on women and job creation will be delivered in conjunction with all of the UK’s programmes, such as improving girls’ education, governance, security and humanitarian assistance.
In the past decade the UK has provided more than £1bn in development assistance in Afghanistan and with support from the international community, the country has made significant progress. For example, the UK has helped increase vital domestic revenues eight-fold, created over 20,000 jobs and supported de-mining in Herat Province.
The publication of DFID’s operational plan comes ahead of the Senior Officials’ Meeting to be held in Kabul on Wednesday 3 July. A year since the Tokyo Development Conference, senior officials from the international community and Afghan Government will meet in Kabul to take stock on the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF).
The TMAF sets out the Afghan Government’s reform agenda (such as holding credible elections, tackling corruption, upholding women’s rights, and managing the economy) as well as the international community’s aid effectiveness commitments and long-term financial support from donors ($16 billion up to 2015).