Compared to other countries emerging from violent conflict, Afghanistan has been relatively successful in mobilising and utilising international assistance. Typically in countries emerging from fragility, governments and their diplomatic and security partners complain about the slowness of development assistance. This is often blamed on complex donor procedures, particularly for procurement, which slow down the impact of development assistance on helping a state move from fragility to resilience. Despite difficult initial conditions, Afghanistan seemed able to minimise the delays in utilising development assistance when it re-engaged with the international community at the beginning of 2002.
This paper describes the experience of programme implementation and procurement in Afghanistan and sets out lessons for other countries coming out of prolonged fragility and conflict. It shows that, with strong government counterparts and proactive risk management, plus well-designed and well-organised national programmes, it is possible to provide substantial funding through the government budget using national procurement, financial reporting and audit systems.