The World Bank provided a grant of 50 million U.S. dollars to Afghan government to help its efforts to improve access to finance in the war-torn country, said a bank statement issued here Wednesday.
The grant was approved by the body to support the government's efforts to improve access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises in the central Asian state, the statement said.
"The Afghanistan Access to Finance Project will be implemented through the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA) and the Afghanistan Credit Guarantee Facility, " it noted.
Out of total amount, 32 million U.S. dollars "will provide continuing support to the microfinance sector through MISFA and to the scale up of the Targeting the Ultra Poor program which provides technical and financial support to poorest households to help them graduate out of extreme poverty."
The rest of the grant or 18 million dollars, will support the expansion of the Afghanistan Credit Guarantee Facility which provides partial risk guarantees to loans issued by commercial banks and microfinance institutions to small and medium enterprises, the statement added.
"The new project aims to increase access to financial services for micro, small and medium enterprises, which will in turn help these enterprises grow and stimulate jobs creation," Robert Saum, the World Bank country director for Afghanistan, said in the statement.
"Afghan enterprises are labor intensive and have the potential to absorb part of the growing Afghan labor force," he said.
Established in 1960, the IDA is the World Bank's fund for the poorest. It aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called " credits") and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people's living conditions, according to the statement.