Promoting political reform in Afghanistan
Title: Open Policy Advisory Fund (OPAF)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF)
Overall term: 2010 to 2020
After decades of armed conflict, the state and public administration in Afghanistan are unable to fulfil their responsibilities and provide the services that the population needs. This is due to the inability of government institutions to enforce their powers. To make matters worse, the Afghan state and its institutions lack support among the population due to widespread corruption.
State actors have implemented reform steps that contribute to political and social ownership.
The German Government has supported good governance reform efforts in Afghanistan through the Open Policy Advisory Fund (OPAF) since 2009. The focus is on making public administration more efficient and on preventing corruption.
Many Afghan institutions need to introduce reforms but often lack the necessary expertise. The Open Policy Advisory Fund finds and funds the deployment of experts who can support state actors in setting up efficient processes, drawing up or improving strategies and regulations, and providing staff training. Thanks to improved organisational structures, clear internal procedures and well-trained staff, the work of the public administration can contribute to more transparent government actions.
The programme responds quickly and flexibly to new approaches for reform. The strategic direction is set by a committee comprising high-ranking representatives of the Afghan and German Governments. Projects and training courses can be implemented quickly. OPAF also serves as a point of intersection, for example with other German-Afghan cooperation programmes and with other international donors.
Preventing corruption. The programme supports the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) with the task of conducting risk analyses to prevent corruption in Afghan government ministries. Working relations between the Afghan and Indonesian anti-corruption institutions are strengthened in collaboration with the Anti-Corruption and Integrity sector programme, the German Academy for International Cooperation (AIZ), and the country office of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Indonesia and are expanded to establish a long-term South-South cooperation arrangement.
Improved services for refugees and returnees. The programme supports the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR) in making internal processes more transparent and efficient and coordinating the work among the acting government departments to better effect.
Insurance against basic risks. The rural population of Afghanistan has received little input in this respect to date or has been very poorly served at best. Low-income households are granted access to the Afghan insurance market to ensure their basic needs are covered in the event of illness, accident or property loss. The Afghan General Directorate of Insurance Affairs (GDIA) has developed a set of rules for micro insurance in Afghanistan and was supported in this process. The programme consequently offers support in implementing the rules more efficiently. Micro insurance covers individual risks, such as illness or accident, and is financed by low premiums paid by policyholders.
Economic empowerment of women. Specialists supported the Afghan Ministry of Labour in developing a national action plan aimed at significantly increasing the participation of women in economic life. The plan has now become a key part of the national development strategy. The first meeting of the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and its counterpart in Indonesia took place with the support of OPAF in October 2018. The two ministries intend to formalise their cooperation for strengthening women in industry in the long term and developed a strategic plan for designing their future collaboration.
Better health care. The Afghan Ministry of Public Health has revised the legislation for establishing health insurance and developed a set of rules to accompany it. The support provided by OPAF has enabled far-reaching consultations to be conducted with public organisations, civil society and the private sector.