TOKYO, JAPAN - At today's Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) reiterated its commitment to the country's long-term development, including a $1.2 billion indicative assistance program through 2016.
"The Asian Development Bank has successfully worked with the Government of Afghanistan for more than a decade on a range of projects that have directly benefited millions of the country's people," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said at the conference. "We are firmly committed to staying engaged in Afghanistan's development efforts."
Since 2002, ADB has approved more than $2.8 billion in grants, loans, equity investments, grants and technical assistance for Afghanistan, primarily focused on infrastructure - the backbone of economic and social development - in the transport, energy, water and irrigation sectors.
ADB is investing in six major road and rail corridors to better link poor, isolated regions of the country, including the Ring Road, the north-south corridor, the Kabul to Jalalabad expressway, and the Hairatan to Mazar-e-Shariff railway. In the energy sector, ADB finances regional transmission lines, including one that now supplies electricity to Kabul - which once suffered perpetual power outages - with a steady 24-hour, seven-day-a-week supply.
ADB is supporting the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, and has financed, under the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, successful pilot projects in improved irrigation and agricultural production, which are likely to be replicated on a larger scale in the coming years.
ADB has also provided assistance to the Roshan Cellular company, helping it grow from a subscriber base of 158,000 to more than 6 million cell phone users nationwide.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in Asia and remains heavily aid-dependent. The country's transition will require it to find new sources of growth.
The ADB-managed multi-donor Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF), which pools donor resources to cofinance and complement ADB-assisted projects in Afghanistan, seeks to provide significant resources annually to change lives in Afghanistan. The AITF allows donors to benefit from ADB's comparative advantages and technical expertise in implementing large projects.