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For over 20 years, USAID supported Afghanistan in achieving significant social and economic gains. The Afghan economy has grown dramatically, with Gross Domestic Product rising to more than $20 billion– five times higher than in 2002. USAID has worked with the Afghan government, private sector, and international partners to implement laws and policies to support dynamic regional and international trade, substantially increase exports, promote business and commerce transparency and reduce trade barriers.

Afghanistan strengthened its public basic health system with access to maternal and neonatal care. Afghan girls and young women attended primary and secondary schools and universities, excelling in leadership roles across all sectors, including public service and the private sector. Afghan civil society and media flourished and actively advocated for rights for all Afghans, including women and marginalized populations. All of these efforts contributed towards a more secure, stable, and prosperous future with the support from the U.S. government and the international community. During the past two decades, Afghanistan made remarkable development gains thanks to the whole-of-government efforts of the United States, the international partners, the Afghan government, and the Afghan people. 

Today, as Afghanistan faces a humanitarian and economic crisis, USAID continues to support Afghans and help meet their basic needs and preserve the gains made in the last 20 years. USAID partners with international partners to ensure humanitarian and development assistance is delivered to those in need, while also seeking to promote economic stabilization. The key elements of USAID’s strategy going forward prioritize efforts to sustain the significant achievements in health and education; protect the human rights of all Afghan citizens including women; stimulate agriculture-led economic growth and fiscal sustainability; and strengthen civil society.

AGRICULTURE

Livelihood assistance provided by USAID is helping to minimize the impact of economic disruption and instability on vulnerable households. Our assistance is helping farmers increase production of food and staple crops - such as wheat, soy, beans, and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as supporting the livestock and dairy sectors. USAID’s programs also provide feed, seeds, saplings, and other inputs, as well as technical assistance, to smallholder farms and agribusinesses to generate income and strengthen their resilience. 

ECONOMIC GROWTH

Economic shocks have been the primary causes of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. As per recent assessments (UNDP), almost 97 percent of the population may be at risk of sinking below the poverty line, unless a response to the country’s political, financial and economic crises is urgently launched. USAID is committed to continue its efforts in economic growth by creating sustainable jobs and livelihoods for IDPs, returnees, and some local households in target urban centers in Afghanistan; supporting targeted businesses in the private sector that can sustain or create livelihoods, as well as Micro, Small, Medium Size Enterprises in supply chains essential to maintaining basic living conditions for the local population; and supporting mainly women carpet weavers in the carpet value chain, as well as continued capacity building of carpet manufacturers which will maximize livelihood opportunities for women whose work make up 80 percent of an Afghan carpets value.

DEMOCRACY, GENDER, AND HUMAN RIGHTS

USAID partners with UN agencies and international and local non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan to strengthen civil society, support media freedoms, and protect human rights, including for the rights of women and girls and marginalized populations. Through our programs, USAID supports Afghan media partners to elevate women’s voices through content development, support journalist networking, and support partners’ core business processes. Throughout all USAID programs for Afghanistan, USAID supports Afghan women and girls. USAID enhances the status of women by enabling them to access high quality healthcare and by building on the successes of the past 15 years to help them access credit and build careers through targeted job training.

HEALTH

Although Afghanistan has seen significant improvements in its health sector since 2002, Afghanistan’s public health system remains beset by many challenges—tuberculosis, polio, poor maternal health, and one of the world’s highest levels of child malnutrition. Development of the health sector continues to be a priority and is one of USAID’s three key strategic objectives for the country. USAID programs continue to support the COVID-19 response and other diseases surveillance, response, and control efforts; help maintain basic service delivery, particularly reproductive and maternal health, prenatal and neonatal care; and increase access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. USAID has several health programs in urban and rural provinces, which includes providing technical assistance in family planning through health facilities, pharmacies, and communities. USAID also supports vaccination campaigns for COVID-19 and measles while also implementing capacity building for case management of tuberculosis, COVID-19, and other infectious diseases.

EDUCATION

All Afghans have the right to access and complete all levels of education, including Afghan women and young girls. USAID works in tandem with the U.S. Department of State, its partners, and Afghan women leaders to advocate for Afghan girls and women to be allowed to return to schools. USAID has active education programs that support community-led basic education services to sustain safe access and learning for students and educators. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, USAID also continues to support higher education opportunities by granting scholarships to Afghan students.

Last updated: August 05, 2022

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