The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Director General for Central and West Asia Department, Werner Liepach, concluded a 3-day visit to Kabul on March 19, where he met with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Eklil Ahmad Hakimi to discuss ADB’s overall country operations, progress under the Country Partnership Strategy, and reaffirm its commitment to support the country’s infrastructure development and reform priorities.
During his visit, Mr. Liepach met with Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock Nasir Ahmad Durrani; Senior Infrastructure Advisor to Afghanistan President Humayon Qayoumi; Minister of Public Works Yama Yari; Chief Executive Officer of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat Amanullah Ghalib; and Director General of Afghanistan Railway Authority Ahmad Yama Shams.
“ADB is fully committed to improving the lives of the people of Afghanistan through developing essential infrastructure in the current difficult situation,” Mr. Liepach said. “I met President Ghani today and I am impressed by his leadership and efforts towards development in Afghanistan. ADB will work closely with the government to mobilize additional resources—including through the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund—to finance infrastructure and bring prosperity to all Afghans.”
ADB is Afghanistan’s largest infrastructure development partner in the agriculture and natural resources, energy, and transport sectors. According to data captured by the Asia Foundation in 2017, infrastructure development projects results in more economic opportunities and substantially improve the lives of Afghans.
In the agriculture and natural resources sector, ADB has helped rehabilitate and upgrade around 300,000 hectares of irrigated land, with work continuing on an additional 300,000 hectares. The completed projects have generated around 1.5 million short and long-term jobs and benefited more than 7 million people. The investments have also resulted in improved rural livelihoods, economic growth, and better water resources management, according to ADB.
In the energy sector, ADB has helped deliver electricity to more than 5 million people in Afghanistan who often used to receive 4 hours or less of power in the 2000s.
ADB’s key support to the transport sector includes the establishment of the first railway line between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, which carries between 3-4 million of freight annually between the two countries. In 2017, the railway generated around $38 million revenue for Afghanistan.
According to the Country Partnership Strategy (2017-2021), ADB is expected to provide $887 million in grants to Afghanistan through 2020, including $20 million for disaster risk reduction. The grants will support the country’s agriculture and natural resources, energy, and transport sectors, with special attention to regional cooperation, governance, and capacity building.
ADB’s support is closely aligned with Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), Realizing Self-Reliance agenda, National Priority Programs (NPPs), and various sector master plans.