Kabul [Afghanistan], March 29 (ANI): About 90 per cent of Afghanistan's population has been projected to be below the poverty line by the end of the year according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a visiting official said in Kabul.
Achim Steiner, Director General of UNDP, who recently came to Afghanistan, in a meeting in Kabul on Tuesday said it is necessary to maintain the international community's interest in Afghanistan in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the country, reported Tolo News.
Steiner said investment in Afghanistan's economy is necessary to stabilize the economic freefall, otherwise, based on UNDP's earlier reporting, about 90 per cent of Afghanistan's population will live below the poverty line by the end of the year.
"The answer to these challenges is also to invest in the recovery of Afghanistan's economy. That means recognizing that the people of this country need urgent support to also be able to earn their own livelihoods, to have the income to be able to buy food, to send children to school, to pay medical bills," he said as quoted by Tolo News.
Steiner also said that several factors have contributed to the economic freefall of the country which includes not only "the political turmoil, but also Covid-19 and a drought (that) has created an economic reality in Afghanistan today that is essentially turning more and more people into poor people."
During his visit to Afghanistan, the UNDP Director-General met with women entrepreneurs, media officials and private sector figures. He said women entrepreneurs should be supported because they not only feed their own families but also provide jobs for other women. Officials from the private sector said they discussed ways of addressing economic challenges with Steiner.
"We hope that the mistakes of the past are not be repeated after this. We do not need short-term projects and support, we need sustainable development," Shirbaz Kaminzada, head of the Chamber of Industries and Mines was quoted as saying.
"We discussed the restrictions on media and media outlets' economic problems. They (Steiner) announced their support to media in Afghanistan and to the freedom of speech in total," Hujatuallah Mujaddedi, head of Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association said.
Talking about the recent ban on girls attending school over grade 6, Steiner said that the decision can have a negative impact on the international community's engagement in Afghanistan, stressing that sometimes a single issue can define everything.
He said the authorities in Afghanistan should know that the world can easily turn its attention to other crises and set new priorities, adding that if the world's attention is drawn away, a crisis will emerge which will affect future generations.
The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has continued to worsen since the Taliban's takeover last year. Humanitarian and financial aid has dried up due to the US sanctions on the Taliban regime, with the UN agencies estimating that more than 50 per cent of the population is in the need of urgent humanitarian assistance. (ANI)