Thirty years of conflict have undermined the Afghan state, society and economy. Afghanistan is off-track on all Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and an extension has been agreed until 2020. The development effort is directed at improving the effectiveness of Afghan governance, supporting economic growth, developing basic services and reducing poverty. Extra spending will be targeted for vocational training, strengthening police and government institutions. These improvements will reduce the need for ordinary Afghans to turn to the Taliban for jobs or justice, making security and lasting stability more likely.
UK development funding is providing £510 million over the next four years to support four priorities of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy:
• Make government more effective;
• Create jobs and encourage economic growth;
• Promote stability and development in Helmand;
• Provide alternatives to growing poppy
The Stabilisation Aid Fund is providing an additional £68 million (2009-2010) to bring security governance and development to Afghanistan. The best way to achieve these goals is by supporting the Afghans to help themselves. This is why DFID has committed to channelling at least 50% of its funding through Afghan government systems which is carefully guarded against corruption.
And there has been progress:
- the average Afghan income has doubled since 2002 and growth rates are about 15%: the highest in the region.
- Working with the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, over 90km of roads have been resurfaced, mainly in Lashkar Gah to 2010, as well as 10km of roads in District Towns such as Garmser, Nad Ali, Sangin, Musa Qala and Gereshk.
- Solar-powered street lights have been and are being installed in all District Centres in Helmand
- In October 2009 Helmand’s run down prison was replaced with the first wing of a new, purpose-built facility. It houses up to 450 prisoners in an environment that is more secure and meets Afghan and international standards.