Statement by Shixin Chen, ADB Vice President (Operations 1), at the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, 24 November 2020

Your Excellency President Ghani, representatives of the Government of Finland, representatives of the United Nations, Excellencies, Dear Colleagues, it is a pleasure and honor to speak at this conference today.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has a long-standing relationship with Afghanistan and it is one of its largest on-budget development partners. Since our re-engagement in 2002 we have provided over $6 billion in assistance to support the government’s priorities in the energy; transport; agriculture and natural resources, and rural development sectors. ADB projects and programs have enabled capacity and institutional development, supported regional cooperation and integration and improved access to opportunities for women and men. We have also supported the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afghanistan is at a crossroads today, with the prospect of peace at the horizon. We very much welcome the government‘s efforts to seize this historic opportunity and the development agenda focusing on nation-building, inclusive growth, poverty reduction, and self-reliance. We emphasize the need for sustained peace and political stability in Afghanistan for the development efforts to be effective.

ADB is strongly committed to supporting Afghanistan in this important endeavor. We have initiated the work on our next Country Partnership Strategy, which will align with the government’s strategic priorities. To finance our support, the Asian Development Fund Donors have agreed to continue a special grant allocation for Afghanistan. As a result, we are pleased to announce that we will be able to provide support to Afghanistan of nearly $900 million for the period 2021-2024. This will help to continue improving the lives of Afghans by addressing critical social-economic constraints and support the development agenda including the post COVID-19 recovery. ADB will also mobilize additional resources through the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund, which we are working to strengthen.

ADB will continue to work very closely with all Development Partners in Afghanistan. In addition to providing sovereign grants, we will crowd-in private sector investment and facilitate public-private partnerships. I believe that together, we can substantially contribute to a better future for the people of Afghanistan.

Thank you.