BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reaffirmed its commitment to support infrastructure development in Afghanistan, and stressed the importance of improved project implementation to enhance development impact in the country.
The statement was made by Wencai Zhang, ADB Vice President for Central and West Asia and South Asia Operations, during the Brussels Conference on Wednesday.
“While funding is essential for development in Afghanistan, improved project delivery and infrastructure sustainability warrant significant attention from both the government and the international community,” said Mr. Zhang. “ADB looks forward to continuing its partnership with the government and the international community to develop infrastructure and bring prosperity to all Afghans.”
ADB, which will celebrate its 50th year anniversary this year, is Afghanistan’s largest infrastructure development partner. ADB-financed projects include the first energy transmission interconnection with neighboring countries, the first railway line, and new technical assistance to improve the Salang Corridor, which will greatly enhance transit connectivity between Central and South Asia.
In 2016, ADB will allocate $571 million for project financing in the country, including $315 million in cofinancing. Over the next four years (2017-2020), ADB aims to approve $878 million in grants, including $20 million for disaster risk reduction and the rest for transport, energy, and agriculture and natural resources sectors, with special attention to regional cooperation, governance, and capacity building.
Mr. Zhang said that ADB-financed projects have resulted in substantial improvements in infrastructure. However, many current projects are facing delays due to the security situation as well as capacity and implementation constraints. ADB will continue to work closely with the government to accelerate project implementation and overcome challenges.
Afghanistan is the founding member of ADB and to date it has received over $4.3 billion in grants and loans from ADB.
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 in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.