KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao has completed a visit to Afghanistan during which he reassured the country of the Bank’s continued support during and beyond the current period of transition.
The country, emerging from decades of conflict, faces many challenges, including the withdrawal of most U.S. and NATO forces. By 2015 Afghan forces will be largely responsible for security.
“ADB recognizes the political and security challenges and reaffirms its long-term commitment to Afghanistan,” Mr. Nakao said. “But we need the ongoing support of donors and the wider international community in order to sustain ADB’s work in Afghanistan.”
Mr. Nakao met First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim during the visit to Kabul, as well as Minister of Finance and ADB Governor, Omar Zakhilwal.
The President also met donor representatives in Kabul. At the meeting, he emphasized that the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF), administered by ADB, will remain one of the key trust funds for development partners to fulfill their commitments to Afghanistan and to support infrastructure development.
The AITF, approved in 2010, is funded by contributions from the governments of Japan, United States and United Kingdom. At the end of 2013, total cumulative AITF funding was $271.2 million. It is expected that contributions to the AITF will grow to more than $800 million, on a cumulative basis, by 2015.
ADB is the largest infrastructure investor in Afghanistan and is planning to scale up operations in coming years. Future investments in the energy sector will focus on the expansion of electricity transmission networks. ADB will also concentrate on improving road interconnectivity and the transport network. Modernizing parts of the country’s irrigation infrastructure is another ADB priority.
ADB operations in Afghanistan, discontinued in 1980, were resumed in late 2001. ADB has approved $3.9 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance for Afghanistan since 2002.