World Bank OKs $52m grant for Afghanistan


The World Bank (WB) has approved a $52 million grant to help the Afghan government manage the development of its natural resources in an effective and transparent manner. The grant from the International Development Association would go to the Second Sustainable Development of Natural Resources Project, the World Bank country office in Kabul said.
It will assist Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and the National Environmental Protection Agency to further improve their capacities to develop Afghanistan’s mineral and energy resources as international interest in the country’s rich mineral potential increases.
In a statement, the WB country director said: “The development of natural resources is the single most important lever to diversify Afghanistan’s economy, create growth and employment and raise government revenues.”
Nicholas Krafft also stressed the need for strengthening the government’s capacity to put in place a sound policy and institutional framework to manage the country’s natural resources and transform its mineral potential into a lasting wealth.
Afghanistan has vast mineral and energy resources, including deposits of copper, gold, and iron ore, as well as construction materials, dimensional stone and gemstones, coal, and hydrocarbons.
But much of that wealth is locked in the ground, pending development of infrastructure that will link mines to global markets. Both Ainak copper and Hajigak iron ore resources are among the largest deposits being offered under competitive tender in the region.