KABUL: The governments of the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US) and Japan will continue their support for improving and maintaining Afghanistan’s key roads, power plants, and other infrastructure by providing an additional $286 million to the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF).
The AITF, managed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan and donors, helps the country build and run infrastructure to promote security and drive development. Contributions to the fund will help ensure that 90% of the population has access to regional and national roads by 2017. In addition, the AITF will help ensure the proportion of households with access to grid electricity nationally will increase to 50% by 2017.
Noting the support ADB is providing to Afghanistan, Finance Minister Dr. Omar Zakhilwal said: “ADB, besides its generous grant assistance to Afghanistan, administers the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF) that envisions to provide significant critical financial contributions in pooled resources through our country systems in an efficient and accountable manner, funding important infrastructures that are aimed to put Afghanistan on a path to self-reliance.” Minister Zakhilwal also thanked and encouraged donors to continue financing AITF.
“These important contributions to Afghanistan’s infrastructure will promote economic growth, private sector investment, and better public service delivery,” said Joji Tokeshi, Country Director for ADB in Afghanistan. “Most importantly, many thousands of Afghans will benefit from better access to electricity, transport, and employment opportunities.”
The additional contributions, which were announced at a ceremony at the Afghanistan Ministry of Finance, include $213 million from the United Kingdom, $60 million from the United States and $13 million from Japan.
“Over recent years, UK support to the AITF has brought major improvements to Afghanistan’s infrastructure; we are proud of this,” said a senior DFID official in Kabul. “I want to see these improvements continue for years to come. The Department for International Development is committed to supporting this program and investing in Afghanistan’s future.
“The US government’s contribution to this fund is just one example of our long-term commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s development. Our partnership with the ADB provides an important mechanism for improving the lives of the Afghan people and driving Afghanistan’s economic growth,” said USAID Mission Director to Afghanistan, William Hammink. “The Government of Japan sees infrastructure development as an important pillar of its assistance to Afghanistan, and we hope our contribution to the AITF, in the transport and energy sectors, will promote further development in the country,” said Hiroshi Takahashi, Japanese Ambassador to Afghanistan. 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. The Kabul Times