Active Portfolio Investment Projects
Rural development is critical in Afghanistan where poverty rates in rural areas are high. As a result the Rural Development Sector is a key recipient of funds from the ARTF. This is first and foremost due to the flagship project the National Solidarity Program, which started its implementation in 2002 and is now in its third phase. About 80 percent of the community subprojects involve infrastructure such as irrigation, rural roads, electrification, and drinking water supply, all critical for the recovery of the rural economy, stability, and governance. But more importantly, NSP is about mobilizing communities to organize themselves to receive direct government assistance to meet their most pressing needs. NSP is seen as an equitable program following the same guidelines across the country and ensuring that all communities which are willing to adopt the NSP principles, even those in the conflict areas, are eventually reached. Other projects include the Rural Access Program (NERAP/ARAP) which funds rural roads and the Rural Enterprise Development Project focusing on support for small scale private businesses. Through NERAP more than 10,000 km of rural access roads have been constructed or repaired, providing for 13 million labor days in rural areas and enhanced access to markets, employment and social services. Rehabilitation of these village roads has given some 9000 villages access to all-season roads.