Paris Conference must result in more and smarter aid to Afghanistan, Oxfam says

“International aid has not gone far enough to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the Afghan people.”
Matt Waldman
Afghanistan policy advisor, Oxfam International
Published: 11 June 2008

Governments meeting in Paris on Thursday 12 June to discuss Afghanistan must give more aid and ensure it is spent more effectively if the country is to enjoy peace and stability, international aid agency Oxfam said.

Foreign aid accounts for 90 percent of public expenditure in Afghanistan so how it is spent has an enormous impact on the lives of almost all Afghans and will determine the success of reconstruction and development.

Matt Waldman, Afghanistan policy advisor for Oxfam International, said:

“So far international aid to Afghanistan has not gone far enough to
alleviate the poverty and suffering of the Afghan people. The amount of international aid has been wholly insufficient given the huge job of reconstruction in Afghanistan. Of the aid that has been given too much has been driven by the priorities of the international community and its security concerns rather meeting the needs of the people and building a more effective state.

“This is a critical meeting which will map out the direction donors will take to rebuilding Afghanistan. Too often the country has suffered from bold promises which are soon forgotten.

“International donors meeting today must pledge more aid, but they must also make sure the money is spent better. More funds need to go through the Afghan government, whose capacity and accountability must be strengthened.

Donors should agree to be open and transparent with the Afghan government on the assistance they provide and the programs they conduct. Less money should be spent on for-profit, private contracting firms and consultants.

Aid needs to be more transparent and better monitored, with the emphasis being on getting help to the poorest Afghans in rural areas.”

Oxfam would like to see:

  • donors committed to full transparency on their aid flows to Afghanistan.
  • properly established indicators of aid effectiveness.
  • the government of Afghanistan and donors undertake a full assessment of the reconstruction, development and humanitarian needs in Afghanistan.
  • better coordination amongst donors and between donors and the Afghan government.
  • increased and better support to agriculture and to rural developments strenghtened capacity of the Afghan civil society to hold the Afghan government to account.


Notes to Editors

International donors meet in Paris to address the situation in Afghanistan and to respond to the Afghan National Development Strategy

Oxfam’s specific recommendations for action to be taken by donors and the Afghan government can be found in the following reports:

Falling Short, ACBAR, March 2008:

Afghanistan: Development and Humanitarian Priorities, Oxfam, January 2008: