The study, which analysed four potential scenarios of escalating intensity and isolation, indicated that real GDP could contract by as much as 13.2 per cent, leading to an increase in the poverty rate of up to 25 percentage points, the UNDP said.
“We are facing a full-on development collapse on top of humanitarian and economic crises,” said Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.
“Half of the population is already in need of humanitarian support. This analysis suggests that we are on course for rapid, catastrophic deterioration in the lives of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable people.”
The appraisal used a computable general equilibrium model for Afghanistan to simulate scenarios based on the latest available data (2018). The modelling identified a worst-case scenario defined by a two-month interruption to trade with all major partners, a four per cent decrease in capital spending efficiency, and disruptions in connectivity, the statement added. According to the appraisal, this combination of factors could cause the baseline poverty rate, now at 72 per cent, to balloon.
In addition to a prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Afghanistan is contending with the upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, collapsing public finances, increasing pressure on the banking system, and rising poverty.
In response, UNDP is proposing a package of interventions designed to help improve the immediate living conditions of the most vulnerable people and communities, prioritising safeguarding women and girls’ rights.
The package focuses on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income and small infrastructure and aims to support close to nine million vulnerable people through a 24-month community development programme.
– THE HINDUSTAN TIMES