MANILA, PHILIPPINES (6 December 2017) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved $330 million in grant financing to support the completion of Afghanistan's national Ring Road, a vital national strategic corridor and a critical part of the country’s regional integration agenda.

ADB’s financing will support the construction of 151 kilometers (km) of road connecting the towns of Qaisar and Dari Bum in northwestern Afghanistan. The road is the last section of the 2,200-km Ring Road that connects Afghanistan's major cities and is also a key corridor under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program. The Ring Road is ranked first among the investment priorities of the road improvement master plan of the Government of Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan’s Ring Road is an essential piece of infrastructure which will help connect the country internally, as well as with its neighbors in Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Department Sean O’Sullivan. “ADB’s support for the final stage of the Ring Road will integrate lessons learned in provisioning infrastructure in a fragile environment, while also creating jobs, improving trade, and bringing greater security.”

The project will include both drainage and modern highway safety features. It also features roadside infrastructure facilities, including rural access roads and a community development program for 60 local communities. The road will be designed and constructed to incorporate disaster risk and climate change adaptation features, which are critical for the country to increase the resiliency of its infrastructure.

The transport sector is one of ADB’s three priority areas, together with energy and agriculture and natural resources, that will be supported in the new country partnership strategy, approved in October 2017. Since 2002, ADB has rebuilt or reconstructed over 850 kms of roads in Afghanistan, with work continuing on an additional 850 km. ADB's total assistance to Afghanistan's roads, railways and airports amounts to around $2.2 billion.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

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