Donors, Afghanistan to set 'obligations' at Tokyo conference

Afghan man at a food distribution camp. Donors will be meeting July 8 in Tokyo to discuss aid commitments to Afghanistan through 2014. Photo by: Luke Powell / U.N. Photo / CC BY-NC-ND

Will donors give in to the Afghan government’s long-standing request to channel more aid to the national budget than to contractors or aid groups?

The issue will be up for discussion at the upcoming Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, where both parties will sign a “mutual accountability framework” spelling out their obligations to each other, a U.S. embassy official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters.

The meeting, set for July 8, will largely focus on aid commitments to Afghanistan up to 2014. But assistance to the country after NATO troops’ exit will also be on the table, Reuters reports.

Funneling more aid to the national budget is being considered even as donors raise concern on corruption in Afghanistan, which many argue is the reason the country remains poor and why businesses shy away from investing in the country.

But donors seem to be willing to continue their support to Afghanistan, if only for the Taliban not to regain their foothold in the country. Donors, according to the U.S. official, will also pledge to align their aid to Afghanistan’s “national priority program.” Afghanistan, meanwhile, is expected to pledge to keep better track of aid and prevent corruption, Reuters says.

Donors’ decision will be crucial for development workers in the country. Many are already facing financial pressure as a result of the looming pullout of NATO troops.

But for some government and aid officials, reduced foreign aid to Afghanistan may be what the country needs. This will force the country to be aid independent and limit corruption, according to interviews made by Devex correspondent James Dorsey in June.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.