Subject: AFP: Timor useful blueprint for Afghanistan: World Bank

Agence France Presse

January 9, 2002 Wednesday

East Timor useful blueprint for Afghanistan: World Bank


Experiences learnt in East Timor will serve as a useful blueprint for the reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan, a senior World Bank official said Wednesday.

Abid Hassan, operations adviser and deputy head of the World Bank's office in Islamabad, said the international community would draw on the experience of rebuilding East Timor, which was devastated in 1999 after a vote to declare independence from Indonesia.

"We are not starting completely from scratch... There is a lot of international experience on reconstruction, so we will look at these examples as a helpful blueprint," Hassan told AFP.

But he stressed that Afghanistan's individual characteristics and needs also needed to be taken into account.

Hassan said current estimates indicated that Afghanistan would require between 10 to 15 billion dollars in international aid over the next 10 years.

But he stressed these were very rough figures.

"These figures are based on cross-comparisons with other reconstruction efforts like in East Timor, " he said.

A joint team from the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank is currently in Afghanistan carrying out a preliminary assessment report.

"At the present we are doing a needs-assessment study to work out what is required. That will be then be discussed with the new (interim) government of Hamid Karzai," Hassan said.

Their report would then be revised based on the Afghan administration's recommendations before being presented to the donor conference in Japan on January 21-22, the World Bank official added.

The Tokyo meeting is to be co-chaired by Japan and the United States and is expected to be attended by senior officials from more than 50 countries.

Asked how long reconstruction efforts would take, Hassan said: "It's anyone's guess. Clearly it is a huge task but we are just taking one step at a time."

On Monday he told a conference in the Pakistan capital that between 100 and 140 million dollars would be needed to build hospitals while 50-100 million dollars would have to be pumped into water supply projects.

The primary education sector would require a 60-80 million dollar injection of funds, while the power sector needed 40-50 million dollars.

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