Afghanistan and ADB

ADB has placed its regular assistance to Afghanistan on hold effective 15 August 2021. ADB is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and remains committed to supporting the Afghan people.

ADB's Work in Afghanistan   Download Fact Sheet

ADB has helped Afghanistan build a stronger foundation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction and recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The information presented here reflects ADB’s past support to the country prior to the effectivity date of the holding period.

Afghanistan was an ADB founding member in 1966. With its in-depth experience in delivering projects for fragile and conflict-affected situations, ADB supported Afghanistan’s development priorities, focusing on agriculture, natural resources, and rural development; energy; and transport sectors along with capacity building, institutional development, and sector reforms.

ADB had committed 143 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $5.3 billion to Afghanistan. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Afghanistan amount to $2.91 billion. These were financed by regular and concessional ordinary capital resources, and the Asian Development Fund. ADB’s ongoing sovereign portfolio in Afghanistan includes 25 grants worth $2.55 billion.

ADB committed a total of $2.2 billion including ADB-administered cofinancing for 21 transport projects from 2002 to August 2021 that supported the construction and rehabilitation of 1,055 kilometers (km) of national and regional roads. The projects improved regional connectivity and land transport safety, efficiency, and sustainability. They also helped expand economic and social opportunities.

ADB helped deliver reliable electricity to more than 5 million Afghan people by financing 16 electricity projects with the total amount of $1.59 billion including cofinancing. Around 2,500 km of power transmission lines were constructed, strengthening the national power grid and enabling regional power trade with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The projects also built 19 substations, 173,320 power distribution connections, 4.5-megawatt hydropower generation, and rehabilitated eight gas wells in Sheberghan Gas Fields.

ADB committed more than $900 million, including ADB-administered cofinancing, for 17 irrigation and agriculture infrastructure projects to increase farming productivity, improve food security, promote agribusiness, and enhance water resources management through a climate resilience approach. About 350,000 hectares of irrigated land were rehabilitated and upgraded. The completed projects generated more than 2 million short- and long-term jobs and benefited around 10 million people.

View of downtown Mazar-e-Sharif Afghanistan

View of downtown Mazar-e-Sharif Afghanistan Photo: ADB

Nonsovereign operations.Total outstanding balances and undisbursed commitments of ADB’s nonsovereign transactions in Afghanistan as of 31 December 2021 were $13.15 million representing 0.09% of ADB’s total private sector portfolio.

Operational challenges. ADB placed its regular assistance to Afghanistan on hold effective 15 August 2021. Afghanistan is classified by ADB as a fragile and conflict-affected situation country, characterized by conflict, political instability, and weak governance and institutional capacity. Some of the key challenges in ADB operations related to procurement, safeguards compliance, security, staffing, capacity development, and portfolio administration. The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted project implementation and affected the work of contractors and consultants.

ADB helped to improve the projects performance and address operational issues by producing a revised enhanced project delivery approach paper in 2020. It synchronized procurement and safeguards readiness to ensure that contracts were awarded at project effectiveness, and their execution was not hindered by noncompliance with safeguard policies.

COVID-19 Response

In 2020, ADB provided $100 million assistance to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and support the poor and vulnerable groups including Afghan women. ADB also provided $40 million in emergency assistance and $2.7 million to procure personal protective equipment. In April 2021, ADB committed a $50 million grant to procure COVID-19 vaccines for at least 2.6 million people and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement the vaccination program.

Knowledge Work

ADB’s knowledge work in Afghanistan was conducted through analysis, policy dialogue, expert-led knowledge sessions, and knowledge products.

ADB helped Afghanistan to achieve its self-reliance goal, improve services, and strengthen the capacity of and reforms in the public sector so that they were citizen-centered. ADB also focused on infrastructure-related knowledge products and services and capacity strengthening to provide a longer term and more sustained approach to building institutions and human capital in ADB-supported sectors. ADB also promoted reforms, including in the financial sustainability and management of state-owned enterprises, which were crucial for improved service delivery.

Shareholding and Voting Power

Number of Shares Held
3,585 (0.03% of total shares)

42,699 (0.32% of total membership, 0.49% of total regional membership)

*Overall capital subscription
$50.17 million

*Paid-in capital subscription
$6.69 million

* United States dollar figures are valued at rate as of 31 December 2021.

Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s partner governments or their agencies, multilateral institutions, and private organizations to participate in ADB projects. The additional funds may be in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and nonsovereign cofinancing.

Cumulative cofinancing commitments in Afghanistan:

  • Sovereign cofinancing: $1.34 billion for 31 investment projects and $30.16 million for 19 technical assistance projects since 1973
  • Nonsovereign cofinancing: $25.05 million for 3 investment projects since 2006

Future Directions

In 2022, ADB will provide special support to the Afghan people, which will cover health, education, and food security and will be implemented through the United Nations agencies. The support will be implemented outside of the de facto government systems, and in line with ADB’s fragile and conflict-affected situations and small island developing states approach.

ADB remains concerned about the welfare of the Afghan people and the country’s economic and social development. The bank continues to consult with its shareholders and stakeholders and to monitor the situation in Afghanistan.

This article was originally published in the ADB and Afghanistan: Fact Sheet. Updated yearly, this ADB Fact Sheet provides concise information on ADB's operations in the country and contact information.


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6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City
1550 Metro Manila, Philippines
  Tel: +63 2 8632 4444
  Fax: +63 2 8636 2444

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