According to Chen: “2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, including the people of Afghanistan. However, 2020 also has the potential to bring new hope and opportunities for the country, including with the peace talks and the upcoming 2020 Afghanistan Conference.”
In a statement issued by ADB, Chen added: “This year has also brought an important commitment from our Asian Development Fund donors to continue the special allocation for Afghanistan during 2021–2024. This will help improve the lives of Afghans by addressing critical socioeconomic constraints and support important development agendas, including the post-COVID-19 recovery.”
Chen, who was joined in the meeting by other ADB officials, commended Afghanistan’s efforts to support economic development and manage the severe impact of COVID-19 on the people and economy.
ADB has supported Afghanistan’s efforts to fight coronavirus through a $40 million emergency assistance grant.
This grant has enabled an integrated approach to improve patient treatment and management through the construction of hospitals and medical facilities, provision of essential medicines and medical equipment, and capacity development of frontline health workers.
Ghani in turn expressed his appreciation for ADB’s support for infrastructure development, regional integration, and reform priorities and also thanked the ADB for its timely support to the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Afghanistan’s First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh and ADB Governor for Afghanistan and Acting Minister of Finance Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal also attended the meeting.
Discussions also focused on areas for future ADB assistance, including regional connectivity projects such as Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridors 5 and 6 Road and Border Services Improvement Project.
Ghani emphasized the importance of regional cooperation to lift Afghanistan’s economy and requested ADB’s support for regional cooperation programs in energy and transport sectors.
ADB is one of Afghanistan’s largest development partners and has provided $5.9 billion in assistance since 2002.