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Afghanistan Participates in IMF/World Bank Meetings

From October 11-15, the Afghan government delegation comprised of Minister of Finance Anwar ul Haq Ahady, Deputy Minister of Finance Wahidullah Shahrani, Governor of Da Afghanistan (Central) Bank Abdul Qadeer Fitrat and First Deputy Governor Mohibullah Safi jointly attended the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) meetings during the annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF in Washington, D.C.

Alongside these meetings, the four Afghan officials also had an opportunity to meet with various senior members of the U.S. Administration including Deputy Secretary of Treasury Robert Kimmitt, Assistant Secretaries of State Dan Sullivan and Richard Boucher, USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore and OPIC President Robert Mosbacher. Throughout these important meetings, the delegation was able to update their bilateral partners on the current status of the economic situation in Afghanistan.

Issues discussed at the World Bank and IMF meetings included the Afghan government's monetary and fiscal policies, the overall macroeconomic situation in Afghanistan, the negative impact of drought and the food crisis on poor communities in Afghanistan and the government's approach to deal with these issues. Other technical meetings also took place with the sector managers of the World Bank regarding projects in the pipeline for development assistance in FY 2009 and FY 2010 including the design and implementation of projects in areas such as irrigation, power, health, education, rural development and mines.

During a separate meeting with the IMF on the status of benchmarks with particular reference to the domestic revenue situation, the Ministry of Finance was urged to take additional necessary measures in order to meet the set revenue targets given the major potential in customs revenue collection with stricter enforcement measures.

Deputy Minister Shahrani also held a detailed discussion with officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the implementation of their projects in Afghanistan as well as the overall food security situation in Afghanistan as result of global food crisis. Minister Shahrani briefed USDA on the overall situation in rural Afghanistan including national programs such as the National Solidarity Program (NSP), National Rural Access Program, Emergency Irrigation Rehabilitation Program and the Emergency Horticulture & Livestock Program. Both sides agreed that Afghanistan needs more support in the production of those crops in which it has comparative advantage such as dried fruits and nuts, pomegranates, grapes and melons with a special focus on extension services in these areas which adds value to the farmers production activities. In this regard, the USDA made the commitment to support the Afghan farmers.

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