The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has endorsed a new 5-year country partnership strategy (CPS) to establish a stronger foundation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Afghanistan, the bank said in a press release.
The 2017-2021 strategy is expected to provide $887 million in grants to Afghanistan, a founding member of ADB, through 2020. Sovereign operations will focus on energy, transport, and 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.”
Despite marked improvements since 2002, Afghanistan still faces a severe infrastructure deficit that negatively affects the country’s economic growth and job creation.
According to the bank, only about 32% of the population has access to grid-connected electricity and more than 70% of the interprovincial and inter-district roads remain in a poor state. Only 10% of irrigated land has formal irrigation systems, with the rest relying on inefficient informal systems that hold back productivity, higher incomes, and job opportunities.
The country’s security situation has hampered economic growth, averaging 1.4% during 2014-2016. With the poverty rate close to 40%, there is still a need to improve the country’s infrastructure, climate resilience, and gender equality.
ADB was one of the first organizations to return to Afghanistan in 2002 when the country needed help. The reconstruction work is part of a decade long partnership that has transformed lives in the country.