Hit Hard by COVID-19, Afghanistan Needs Continued International Support

KABUL, July 15, 2020 -, says the World Bank in its latest biannual Afghanistan Development Update.

Released today, Surviving the Storm examines the coronavirus impacts on Afghanistan’s economic development as the country faces continued insecurity, uncertainties regarding future levels of international support, and the expected initiation of peace talks with the Taliban.

“The COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating impact on the livelihoods of Afghans while undermining the government’s revenue collection and its capacity to finance comprehensive programs to save lives, protect the poor, and jumpstart the economy,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

The report finds that economic activity plummeted in the first half of 2020 as lockdowns and social distancing measures to curb COVID-19 negatively impacted the industry and service sectors. Despite continued robust growth in agriculture following the recovery from the 2018 drought,

To address the impacts of the crisis, the report recommends that tightly constrained public expenditures be carefully prioritized to protect the most vulnerable and limit long-term economic damage.

“Short-term measures are needed to support households through the current crisis, while improvements in the business regulatory environment and maintaining the core functions of government will pave the way for longer-term recovery. Ongoing support from development partners will help finance critical government operations and restore private sector confidence. The World Bank is working closely with the Government of Afghanistan both to implement the short-term response and lay the foundations for longer-term recovery,” said Kerali.

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