The TA aims to improve the Government's capacity in: (i) sectoral donors' coordination and policy dialogue; (ii) proper planning and prioritization of infrastructure projects for AITF financial assistance; (iii) timely preparation of implementable project design; (iv) efficient project implementation focusing on procurement and contract administration; and (v) project/contract monitoring and reporting.
As the line ministries and agencies such as MPW and DABS have limited planning and project implementation capacities as well for policy dialogue, consultants recruited under the TA will provide required expertise to enhance their capacity in AITF-related project preparation and management, and provision of advisory services to the AITF on infrastructure sector issues for policy dialogue. The consultants will also help in the investment and policy coordination with relevant donors, promote the AITF with the international community, produce publications and prepare presentations and reports, and undertake coordination and logistics for the regular donor meetings and technical working groups, among other activities. The TA will also support various sector ministries/agencies in for a coherent strategy and implementation of investment plans, as well as to provide capacity and analytical support to strengthen sustainability of the infrastructure sector in Afghanistan. The TA will support the Government to efficiently use the AITF's Technical Working Groups for better sectoral coordination with donors.
The TA will finance the engagement of three international consultants: two engineers for road and power transmission and distribution, and a financial management specialist on a fixed-term basis for an initial period of 18 months. The consultants will be recruited following ADB's Consulting Guidelines (2013, as amended from time to time).
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Development of the infrastructure sector comprising energy, transport, and water resources management is one of the top priorities of the Afghan Government as it is a key element for economic growth and poverty reduction, and is reflected in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy and the National Priority Programs. To promote inclusive growth, the Government is focusing in particular on energy (including power supply chain and regional trade), transport (including ring and national roads and railway to improve connectivity), and water resources management infrastructure (mainly for irrigation purposes). One of the most important financing mechanism for that purpose is the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF). The AITF is a financing modality for bilateral agencies, multilateral banks, corporations and individual interested in cofinancing infrastructure projects with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The AITF is also an important platform for investment and policy coordination with donors. ADB acts as the Fund Manager for the AITF. The AITF focuses on core infrastructure projects cofinanced and screened by ADB. To date, the AITF has received contributions from Japan, United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) totaling $212 million. Additionally, strong interest to become a contributor has been expressed by Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the European Union (EU), together with possible new contributions from the United Kingdom and Japan.
While the AITF is fully operational, it is clear that the success of AITF-financed projects depends not only on ADB -by monitoring the implementation- but mainly on the capacity of the executing agencies. With the expected rapid growth of the portfolio cofinanced by the AITF, additional technical and advisory expertise from the Government and line ministries will be required in planning, identifying, supporting designing, and implementing investment projects that could be financed under the AITF. The current capacity of Government's staff and project implementation consultants working in the infrastructure sector projects is insufficient to shoulder additional work related to potential future AITF-financed projects.
Recognizing the current capacity constraint faced by key agencies in charge of the development of the infrastructure sector, especially the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Da Afghanistan Breshna Sheerkat (DABS), and the Ministry for Public Works (MPW), there is a need to strengthen their capacity to (i) ensure efficient coordination among donors in the infrastructure sector through the AITF; (ii) to work with the AITF by supporting the plan, identification, support for design, and implementation of projects to be financed under the AITF; and (iii) facilitate additional investment from financing partners during 2014-2016.