01/19/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/19/2020 19:39
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (19 January 2020) - The Steering Committee of the multi-donor Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF), administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), held its Annual Meeting today to review overall progress and provide strategic direction for efforts to support the government's infrastructure priorities.
The meeting was co-chaired by Acting Minister of Finance and Chief Adviser on Infrastructure to the President of Afghanistan Mr. Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi and ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Mr. Werner Liepach. Ambassadors and representatives of donor countries and organizations attended the meeting and discussed infrastructure to help foster the country's economic growth and improve the livelihoods of the Afghan people.
'On behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, I express my gratitude to the international community for their hard work and continued support to development efforts in Afghanistan,' said Mr. Qayoumi. 'The infrastructure development needs remain robust and a priority to the Government of Afghanistan, and AITF remains a key mechanism for financing of the priority projects for infrastructure development.'
'AITF is an important platform for our partners to support infrastructure development in Afghanistan,' said Mr. Qayoumi. 'Since its establishment, AITF-funded projects have made a significant contribution towards regional infrastructure, improving connectivity, and economic integration. While Afghanistan is taking important steps towards its self-reliance, we require more investments to implement key infrastructure projects in the country.'
AITF was established in 2010 to address the government's need for a dedicated financing mechanism to support infrastructure development. It is a multi-donor fund for bilateral, multilateral, and individual contributors to invest in large infrastructure projects. Development partners have committed a total of $744 million to AITF to date, almost $600 million of which has been allocated.
'ADB is strongly committed to AITF and has invested significant staff and financial resources to enhance its role in the development of large infrastructure projects in Afghanistan,' said Mr. Liepach. 'AITF's investments in the transport, energy, and agriculture and natural resources sectors, as well as regional cooperation initiatives, have generated important outcomes for the country, with positive impacts on economic growth, job creation, access to services, and poverty reduction.'
During the meeting, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan Mr. Narendra Singru presented the overall achievements of AITF, current challenges, and the significant improvements that the Government of Afghanistan and ADB have implemented in the recent years. The Steering Committee provided guidance and feedback on the overall progress and strategic directions of the AITF. The participants also provided guidance on plans to enhance AITF to better support investments in large projects that are financially viable, such as toll roads, power transmission, and distribution.
AITF investments are closely aligned with Afghanistan's development priorities, including the National Peace and Development Framework, the National Infrastructure Plan, the Self-Reliance Agenda, and other national programs. The use of AITF resources ensures development effectiveness and provides a focus on projects that Afghanistan needs the most. Current AITF partners are the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, KfW Development Bank of Germany, Government of Japan, and the United States Agency for International Development.
At the end of the meeting, ADB signed a $12 million grant agreement for a project readiness financing to finance preparatory activities for the Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance Program. The grant will help the government prepare feasibility studies, detailed engineering design and associated documents, and provide procurement and capacity building support. The project will help improve regional accessibility and enhance the road network, supporting the government's vision of achieving sustainable development, peace, and stability.
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.