Overview of Australia’s aid program to Afghanistan

How we are helping

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$84.5 million

2017-18 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$80.0 million

2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$80.9 million

Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world where conflict severely limits provision of services, and gender inequality and violence against women is endemic. Ongoing development assistance from the international community remains critical to prospects for steady progress and preserving fragile gains.

In 2017-18, the Australian Government will provide an estimated $80.9 million in total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Afghanistan, including an estimated $80.0 million in bilateral funding managed by DFAT.

Afghanistan is undergoing a critical transition. After more than a decade of operations, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force finalised the transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) at the end of 2014. That same year, historic Presidential and Provincial elections led to the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani and the new National Unity Government.

In this 'Transformation Decade', Australia and the international community have an interest in supporting Afghanistan to become a more prosperous, secure and self-reliant nation. Towards this objective, Australia and other donors have committed to help strengthen and align with government systems by providing at least 50 per cent of development assistance as 'on-budget' support, and aligning at least 80 per cent of assistance with Afghanistan's National Priority Programs. At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, Australia extended its USD100 commitment (including USD20 million in ODA-eligible support for the Afghan police) to sustain Afghanistan's security forces to 2020. In addition, at the 2016 Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, we announced our pledge to extend our $80 million annual aid program to Afghanistan to 2020,. Australia has provided more than $1.26 billion in ODA to Afghanistan since 2001.

Afghanistan faces significant ongoing development challenges. Its human, physical, social and institutional infrastructure has been devastated by over three decades of war. More than a third of the population lives on less than USD1.25 a day. Only 17 per cent of women and fewer than half of men are literate, while more than 87 per cent of women experience some form of violence. Around 76 per cent of Afghanistan's population lives in rural areas, where low crop productivity and cyclical drought and flooding are persistent threats to livelihoods and food security. In an average year, 250,000 Afghans are affected by natural disasters.

Australia remains committed to Afghanistan's development. While we are a medium-sized donor in Afghanistan, we have provided more than $1.26 billion in ODA to the country since 2001. Australia's aid program in Afghanistan focuses on achieving three strategic objectives, as outlined below and detailed in the DFAT Afghanistan Aid Investment Plan 2015-18.

Objective 1: Supporting the Afghan Government to maintain economic growth and institute more effective and accountable governance

Afghanistan faces major constraints to economic growth and stability. Insecurity remains a foremost concern, hampering investor and consumer confidence, and expansion of the private sector. Australia directly assists the Afghan Government to support economic growth, security and effective service delivery, and to strengthen public financial management.

Supporting the Afghan Government to maintain economic growth and institute more effective and accountable governance

Objective 2: Empowering women and girls by addressing barriers to their social, political and economic participation

Gender inequality in Afghanistan is among the worst in the world. Australia's support prioritises women's participation in economic activity by targeting women in rural livelihood interventions; increasing girls' literacy rates; and combating violence against women through improved support services, access to justice and advocacy efforts.

Empowering women and girls by addressing barriers to their social, political and economic participation

Objective 3: Building resilience and supporting at-risk populations

In Afghanistan, widespread vulnerability to poverty, natural hazards and protracted conflict fuel instability and hinder development and economic growth. Australia is helping to increase rural populations' access to economic opportunities and to protect their livelihoods against shocks, as well as providing flexible, responsive and coordinated humanitarian assistance across the country.

Building resilience and supporting at-risk populations

Our results

  • With others, our contribution to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund has enabled 27 million people (48.5 per cent female) to benefit from community development improving access to health, education, roads and utility services.
  • In 2015-16, we supported over 205 early childhood and primary school-level education classes, educating more than 5,387 Afghan children, including 3,919 girls.
  • Through our work in the agriculture sector in 2015-16 the Australia Afghanistan Community Resilience Scheme provided training for 9,299 famers on improved agricultural practices, including 4,237 women.
  • Through our Ending Violence Against Women program in Afghanistan, we supported four Women's Protection Centres in Afghanistan in 2015-16, providing shelter and support services to 935 women and their children. We also provided training for 1,665 police and justice officials on gender based violence case management.
  • We supported the Afghan Government to deliver health care interventions to 815,863 vulnerable people. Notably, 62,250 children under five years of age received polio vaccinations and 61,790 children received measles vaccinations.
  • Our funding to the World Food Programme has successfully mobilised support to a targeted 3.5 million beneficiaries in food secure and hard to reach places.

Last Updated: 22 September 2017