Afghanistan and the Asian Development Bank on Sunday signed two grant agreements worth $360 million to support transport sector.
Minister of Finance Eklil Hakimi and ADB Deputy Country Director Ms. Shanny Campbell signed the agreements in the presence of President, cabinet members and MPs.
“Roads are an integral part of the government’s development agenda. The construction of road networks helps the government achieve its aim of a connected Afghanistan,” Hakimi said.
However, he added, substantial economic benefits from roads could not be sustained without adequate maintenance, which helped keep the network in good condition.
For her part, Ms. Campbell said: "Having a functional and reliable transport sector is an important pillar for Afghanistan to recover economically.”
She hoped the two projects signed today would improve the quality and efficiency of road transport services, facilitate regional connectivity and promote inclusive economic growth.
The first grant agreement of $330 million was signed for the construction of a 151-kilometer road linking Qaisar district with Dari Bum road -- a vital national strategic corridor.
This financing comprises $150 million of new funding and $180 million of recycled funding. The road is the last section of the 2,200-km road that connects Afghanistan's major cities and is also a key corridor under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program.
The project will include both drainage and modern highway safety features. It also features roadside infrastructure facilities, including rural access roads and a community development programme.
A statement from Finance Ministry said the road would be designed and constructed to incorporate disaster risk and climate change adaptation features.
The second grant agreement of $30 million was signed as additional financing to the Road Asset Management Project. The project will help finance the gap arising from changes in financing arrangements as well as in revisions of the project’s scope.
This includes 240 km priority maintenance works for the Southern National Ring Road of Afghanistan’s regional highway from Ghazni to Kandahar, which is considered an economic lifeline of the country’s eastern region.
The additional financing will also include a capacity development component to introduce sustainable practices in road asset management and road maintenance.
The overall project will facilitate regional connectivity, improve the quality and efficiency of road transport services, and promote inclusive economic growth in Afghanistan.