ADB Vice-President, Afghanistan President Discuss Ongoing Partnership, COVID-19 Response
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Shixin Chen and Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani yesterday discussed ADB’s ongoing and planned assistance for the country’s development and infrastructure priorities, including efforts to support the post-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic recovery.
“2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, including the people of Afghanistan. However, 2020 also has the potential to bring new hope and opportunities for the country, including with the peace talks and the upcoming 2020 Afghanistan Conference,” said Mr. Chen. “This year has also brought an important commitment from our Asian Development Fund donors to continue the special allocation for Afghanistan during 2021–2024. This will help improve the lives of Afghans by addressing critical socioeconomic constraints and support important development agendas, including the post-COVID-19 recovery.”
Mr. Chen, who was joined in the meeting by ADB Officer-in-Charge for Central and West Asia Nianshan Zhang and ADB Country Director for Afghanistan Narendra Singru, commended the government’s efforts to support economic development and manage the severe impact of COVID-19 on the people and economy.
ADB has supported the government’s response through a $40 million emergency assistance grant. The grant enables an integrated approach to improving patient treatment and management through the construction of hospitals and medical facilities, provision of essential medicines and medical equipment, and capacity development of frontline health workers. ADB is also preparing to provide budget support to help the government’s countercyclical pandemic response and financing needs.
Mr. Ghani expressed his appreciation for ADB’s support for infrastructure development, regional integration, and reform priorities. He also recognized ADB’s timely support to the country’s fight against COVID-19. First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh and ADB Governor for Afghanistan and Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal also joined the meeting.
Mr. Chen and Mr. Ghani discussed measures to improve ADB’s portfolio performance, including procurement and safeguards reforms. The discussion also focused on the areas for future ADB assistance, including regional connectivity projects such as Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India gas pipeline and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridors 5 and 6 Road and Border Services Improvement Project. Mr. Ghani noted the importance of regional cooperation to lift Afghanistan’s economy, commended the role of CAREC in promoting connectivity and trade in the region, and requested ADB’s support for regional cooperation programs in energy and transport sectors.
ADB is one of Afghanistan’s largest development partners. ADB has provided $5.9 billion in assistance between 2002 and 2020 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 as well as reform efforts in selected sectors.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.