International community welcomes Afghan reform vision at London conference

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The UK and Afghanistan today co-hosted the London Conference on Afghanistan (LCA) where 59 countries reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Afghanistan to become a secure and stable nation after drawdown is completed at the end of the year.

Speakers included President Ashraf Ghani, who set out his plan to reform Afghanistan, along with Prime Minister David Cameron, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Picture: Simon Davis/DFID

International Development Secretary Justine Greening meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Picture: Simon Davis/DFID

In his speech, President Ghani outlined steps he has already taken to deliver on his ambitious agenda to reform Afghanistan and deliver economic security by tackling corruption, maintaining the progress made on national security and placing women’s and civil rights at the heart of the country’s future prosperity.

Speaking from the LCA, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

After 13 years of bravery and sacrifice from British and international armed forces, civilians and aid workers, and the people of Afghanistan themselves, this country now has a chance to set the course of its own future.

President Ghani has set out a clear vision for the future of Afghanistan and a commitment to the tough steps needed to make that a reality. This means tackling corruption, ensuring security and economic stability, and putting girls and women at the heart of Afghanistan’s future.

This conference has put down a marker for a better, brighter Afghanistan. The international community has responded to the promises made with an unequivocal show of support. We have a shared history in Afghanistan and a common stake in helping it realise its enormous potential at this critical point.

The UK provided more detail on programmes it will be running to support Afghanistan in the next 3 years including:

boosting employment, with support and training for workers in the critical agriculture sector to help create more than 13,400 jobs, at least 3,200 of them for women;
infrastructure strengthening, to ensure that 90% of the population has access to roads and 50% of households can access grid electricity nationally by 2017, benefitting consumers and boosting business development;
support for economic growth, including a national materials laboratory and mineral promotion services to bolster Afghanistan’s extractives sector, as well as technical expertise to increase tax and revenue collection;
prioritising support for the Afghanistan National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, as well as training for female provincial councillors and providing support and access to justice for survivors of violence;
improved access to schools and more pupils attending school, including girls;
greater access to health services, with at least 58% of births attended by skilled attendants and 86% of health facilities staffed by at least 1 female health worker by 2018; and support for emergency health and nutrition programmes for more than 440,000 people a year, with a focus on girls and women.

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