ADB, Afghan government discuss infrastructure projects
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda and Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal met in Kabul on Tuesday 25 May 2010 to discuss ADB support for major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan’s transport, energy, agriculture and irrigation sectors.
“We’re committed to working with the Government of Afghanistan to facilitate economic growth and to contribute to poverty reduction. We’re here for the long haul,” Mr. Kuroda said.
On the occasion of President Kuroda’s visit, Mr. Zakhilwal stated, “We are honored to have Asian Development Bank President Kuroda in Afghanistan to highlight ADB’s commitment to Afghanistan. We are particularly grateful to have the opportunity to thank him for the partnership of ADB, one of the largest donors to Afghanistan.”
“ADB’s funding of development projects in transport, energy, communications, agriculture, and natural resources are fully aligned with the government’s priorities. ADB, a major funder of core infrastructure, has been instrumental in the construction of roads that link Afghanistan with neighboring countries, and is also investing in railways. These transport connections will ultimately improve the livelihoods of Afghans and increase economic growth in many sectors in the country,” Mr. Zakhilwal added. Mr. Kuroda and Mr. Zakhilwal discussed the extension of ADB-financed electricity projects in Kabul as well as in the north and east of the country, and the resumption of works on the northern portion of Afghanistan’s Ring Road, which will commence soon.In addition to his finance minister post, Minister Zakhilwal also serves as an ADB Governor.
Mr. Kuroda also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and traveled to Mazar-e-Sharif to inaugurate a major ADB railway project in Balkh Province. The new railway line will connect Mazar-e-Sharif to Hairatan, on the northern border with Uzbekistan, removing bottlenecks, boosting regional trade, and facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance.From 2002 to 2009, ADB provided Afghanistan with approximately $2.1 billion in Asian Development Fund (ADF) loans, ADF grants, technical assistance, cofinancing with other donors and grant investment projects, and private sector investments.
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, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2009, it approved a total of $16.1 billion in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation program, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. ADB also mobilized cofinancing amounting to $3.2 billion.