The Asian Development Bank, Afghanistan and the Modern Silk Road

The Asian Development Bank has just approved $754 million in assistance to rebuild Afghanistan’s shattered road and rail network, bringing to more than $2 billion the amount it has contributed to the country’s reconstruction over the past decade.

The new funding, approved by ADB’s Board of Directors earlier this week, adds to ADB’s extensive development portfolio in Afghanistan. ADB’s flagship projects include construction of the country’s first-ever rail link, major portions of its 2,700-kilometer Ring Road, and long stretches of transmission line running from Uzbekistan to Kabul, bringing a regular supply of electricity to the capital for the first time in generations.

“Infrastructure links the new mineral centers to markets, creates jobs, improves trade, and—perhaps most importantly—provides Afghans with a sense of hope for the future,” said Juan Miranda, ADB’s Director General for Central and West Asia. “With the development of modern road, rail and energy networks, Afghanistan is poised to reap the benefits of its strategic location and become a pivotal crossroads for trade and commerce in the region.”

ADB’s focus on Afghanistan’s transport and energy networks enable the country to fulfill its role as a key player in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program, the 10-country partnership that is building a modern-day Silk Road through implementation of regional projects in energy, transport and trade facilitation.