SOM Conference to Review Donor Commitment

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Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi on Thursday announced that delegates from 60 countries and donor groups are expected to attend a key meeting on Afghanistan – known as the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) – to discuss commitments made by the international community toward Afghanistan at previous conferences.

The delegates will attend the meeting in Kabul on Saturday, Hakimi told TOLOnews on Thursday.

He said that SOM will also focus on promises made by the Afghan government to donors and international community.

According to Hakimi, the Afghan officials will brief SOM delegates on a number of key achievements the country has made to date such as the fight against corruption, good governance and strengthening of human rights.

Referring to the performance of the National Unity Government (NUG) over the past year, Hakimi expressed satisfaction over the attainments made by the current administration and said that the NUG has managed to make some gains in various spheres such as that of corruption, considering reforms in various fields, economic development and promoting human rights.

“I acknowledge that some work has been done, but we have not been able to inform the people about this. But several initiatives have been done and the international community is fully aware of it and we do not have a problem to tell the world about it. Because the international community is aware, but we didn’t get the opportunity to inform the people,” he said.

Hakimi has however defended the NUG’s performance – at a time when civil society activists and economic analysts have criticized the NUG over its poor performance since it was formed a year ago.

“There are some achievements in the political sphere, reforms and strengthening civic institutions and women’s contributions, however there has been a roll-back in the economic development process and at curbing the scale of corruption,” civil society activist Bari Salam said.

Hakimi also touched on speculation that Afghanistan will continue to face economic and political downturns after the drawdown of foreign forces from the country at the end of last year and that Afghanistan, by adopting a positive stance has managed to prove otherwise.

“Afghanistan’s economy is on the move toward self-reliance despite predictions by some countries of a possible economic recession and lapse in security. But we came out of this exam successful and now we are on the right track toward economic stability by keeping in mind our economic standards,” Hakimi added.

But some analysts rejected these upbeat claims and said some sectors were deteriorating.

“The security situation is fragile and corruption has not been fought effectively and there has not been enough reforms while the human right situation is also deteriorating. This indicates government’s failure in fulfilling its promises,” economic analyst Sardar Ahmad Rahimi said.

Fighting corruption and economic development was two of the NUG leaders promises at the London summit. Experts believe that the government has failed to fulfill both these obligations.‎

At the Tokyo summit on Afghanistan in 2012, donors and Afghanistan’s key partners pledged to provide a financial package worth $16 billion USD to ensure political stability and development programs. However, the international community attached a number of conditions to the aid in a bid to get the Afghan government to effect comprehensive reforms, good governance practices and to combat corruption.

The Tokyo summit was then followed up by one in London last year in which the global community reaffirmed their long term economic and political commitments to the war-ravaged nation. However world leaders again urged the Afghan government to go through the process of reforms, fight corruption and implement good governance.

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