Is Australia cooking a new program for Afghanistan?

A leaked concept paper being circulated within Australia’s development community hints at the donor’s plans to focus on agriculture and rural development in Afghanistan in the next four years.

The Australian Agency for International Development, however, has not confirmed whether the proposals in the paper will be adopted. A spokesperson of the agency described the concept paper as a preliminary document that is still under consideration, the Sydney Morning Herald says.

The Herald, which saw a copy of the leaked document, says the paper proposes channeling more than 20 million Australian dollars ($21.6 million) to Afghan agriculture and rural development projects. The funding will be divided among five local nongovernmental organizations to be chosen through a competitive grants process. 

According to the Herald, James Goodman of the Aid Watch monitoring group noted that the paper hints at a departure from previous AusAID funding for Afghanistan by supporting local NGOs. Goodman added the paper suggests Australia is seeking to maintain its influence in Afghanistan even as it withdraws troops from the Asian country.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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