UNHCR, AKDN Launch a Microfinancing Scheme to Assist IDPs in Afghanistan

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) First Micro-Finance Bank in Afghanistan have launched a microfinancing plan to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan.

Based on this scheme, the details of which were made public by UNHCR, the internally displaced persons in the host provinces can receive interest-free loans from 25,000 to 300,000 afghanis.

The joint UN Refugee Agency and AKDN project will reportedly target small businesses, particularly women-run enterprises, aiming to help shift returnees into productive economic activities, boosting Afghanistan’s host communities. This initiative is currently implemented in Balkh, Bamiyan, Herat, Kabul and Nangarhar provinces and will be expanded in the future.

Through the end of 2022, the scheme aims to provide some 34 million afghanis (US $386,891) to 500 recipients, according to UNHCR.

This project is being launched while the UNHCR assessments in 75 districts and 5 provinces in Afghanistan indicated that a lack of access to viable economic opportunities and formal financial services is a key obstacle to self-reliance for returning IDPs and former refugees, as well as host community residents.