KABUL- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday launched a new project to strengthen Afghanistan's financial sector and help the government and private-sector create jobs and stimulate economic growth, the agency said.
The five-year Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan (FAIDA) project launch brought together more than 100 representatives from banks, microfinance institutions, mobile network operators, and relevant government offices to discuss the future of Afghanistan’s financial sector, the USAID said in a statement.
In his remarks, Senior Deputy Mission Director Hellyer emphasized the importance of financial services in driving the growth of Afghanistan’s private sector.
He said Afghanistan needed a strong and well-regulated financial sector that provides access to capital for small and medium-sized businesses to grow the economy and create jobs in the future.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan, Wais Ahmed Barmak, highlighted the need for training, ranging from basic financial literacy to advanced international accounting standards to improve understanding of financial management issues across Afghanistan.
After decades of conflict, Afghanistan’s private-sector, particularly in agriculture, lacks access the financial services necessary for sustained economic growth.
Formal financial services have only penetrated 15 percent of the micro-enterprise sector and approximately one percent of the small and medium-enterprise sector, the statement said.
The $74-million FAIDA project will use a three-pronged approach to strengthen financial systems and develop new financial products, it added.
At the micro level, FAIDA will work with partner institutions to identify and provide tailored financial products to create jobs and increase the competitiveness of Afghan businesses. (Pajhwok)