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$887m new grants: ADB eyes Afghan poverty cut

$887m new grants: ADB eyes Afghan poverty cut

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On
Oct 31, 2017 - 23:50

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to provide $887 million in grants to Afghanistan through 2020 under the bank’s 2017-2021 strategy focused on establishing a stronger foundation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in the war-torn country.

The ADB Board of Directors has endorsed the new 5-year country partnership strategy (CPS) to establish a stronger foundation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Afghanistan, a statement from ADB mission in Kabul said on Tuesday.

Sovereign operations will focus on energy, transport, agriculture and natural resources. To date, ADB has provided over $4.9 billion in grants and loans to the country.

 “ADB is one of Afghanistan’s leading partners in infrastructure and regional cooperation and brings in-depth experience delivering projects in fragile and conflict situations,” said Samuel Tumiwa, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan.

“Our new CPS brings a holistic approach combining infrastructure investments with capacity building for the government to ensure ADB projects make an impact in reducing poverty and encouraging growth.”

Under the new CPS, ADB will align its work closely with Afghanistan’s foremost development priorities, including the National Peace and Development Framework, the self-reliance and reform agendas, and National Priority Programs.

ADB operations in Afghanistan will focus on three strategic pillars: expanding access for women and men to economic opportunities, markets, and services; building stronger institutions and human resources through better governance and skills development; and increasing the country’s environmental sustainability as well as resilience to climate change and disasters.

The bank will continue to develop Afghanistan’s potential as a cross-regional transit point for both transport and energy initiatives, with emphasis on the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridors and regional energy initiatives.

Additionally, trade facilitation initiatives under CAREC will increase regional trade and create greater opportunities for local businesses.

ADB will support the increase in the country’s electrification rate, play a major role in power transmission both regionally and domestically, and promote clean energy, including through solar power.

To improve transport and connectivity, ADB will continue the development of the road network including CAREC regional corridors to help improve regional trade and local growth.

ADB’s key support to the transport sector includes establishment of the first railway line between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, which carries around three million tons of freight per year between the two countries.

A comprehensive Transport Sector Master Plan Update will be developed to cover roads, railways, civil aviation, urban transport, trade logistics, and other related operations in the next 20 years. Four regional airports in Afghanistan, with passenger volumes now more than double the pre-upgrade levels, will also be upgraded.

ADB’s focus will be on provision of irrigation and watershed management, and on the development of agriculture market infrastructure and business through value chains.

The bank will also support infrastructure that delivers safe water through improved water storage and delivery systems. These activities will mitigate the effects of droughts and floods, reduce soil erosion, and help restore forest areas.

More than 160,000 hectares of irrigated land have been rehabilitated and upgraded, with work continuing for an additional 260,000 hectares. The investments have resulted in improved rural livelihoods, economic growth, and better water resources management.

As part of its commitment to using high-level technology in its operations, ADB will help climate-proof these projects, for example by flood-proofing roads and designing irrigation systems that are resilient to floods or droughts.

Over the coming years, ADB will strengthen its engagement with the private sector and improve the business environment for economic growth and job creation. ADB will promote public-private partnerships, which can be leveraged to support more investment and better operations and maintenance of critical infrastructure.

pr/ma

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