The World Bank on Wednesday has begun consultation with stakeholders to identify economic initiatives to support and sustain peace in Afghanistan after a potential political settlement is reached with the Taliban.
The World Bank said in a statement on Thursday that the international organization is now seeking broader input from all stakeholders and made public several draft documents on its website to facilitate the process.
At the 2018 Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan, the World Bank was tasked to support planning for post-settlement economic development projects and programming following discussions, the statement said.
The World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan, Henry Kerali, said the consultations will serve several purposes.
“First, we want to show that a peace agreement can bring substantial economic benefits to all Afghans and is in the interest of all parties involved in the ongoing conflict. Second, we want to identify potential principles and themes to guide programming decisions following a settlement. Finally, we want to provide some concrete ideas about the kind of programs that could be scaled up or initiated to maintain peace and realize new economic opportunities in Afghanistan,” Mr. Kerali said.
He noted that the consultations come at a critical time for Afghanistan.
“The World Bank is merely providing technical analysis and is not involved in any negotiations; our priority is to plan for the future of Afghanistan,” he said.
Mr. Kerali added that “peace prospects can improve if the right economic conditions are in place and create job opportunities for those who might otherwise take up arms”.
Consultations are expected to continue until a peace agreement is reached and new programming decisions are made, the statement said.