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ADB to Prepare Master Plan for Developing Afghanistan's Road Network
ADB News (9 Aug 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: ADB is planning to prepare a road development master plan and improvement project that will help rehabilitate Afghanistan's road network, through a technical assistance (TA) grant approved for US$2 million.

The master plan will identify the main road systems required to link major markets, production centers, and development opportunities in the country and the subregion. Based on this, the TA will draw up a road investment program for the next 5-10 years.

The TA will also prepare a feasibility study for a high priority road improvement project suitable for ADB-financing.

"Improving transport linkages within Afghanistan and with neighboring countries will promote economic development and reduce poverty by improving access to markets and services," says Hiroaki Yamaguchi, an ADB Transport Specialist.

Roads are the principal means of transport for domestic and international traffic in Afghanistan. However, much of the country's road infrastructure has been damaged in more than two decades of conflict.

Wrecked bridges and tunnels cause bottlenecks to the movement of people and goods, increasing significantly travel time and vehicle operating costs.

"Transport between neighboring countries and Afghanistan, from Kabul to regional centers, and from regional centers to the hinterlands is inefficient. The restricted movement has hampered efforts toward national and subregional integration," says Mr. Yamaguchi.

"While efforts to reestablish the national primary road network have begun with emergency assistance from international donors, the development of Afghanistan's road infrastructure needs to move from an emergency program to a rehabilitation and reconstruction program to support economic growth and poverty reduction."

A conceptual plan of Afghanistan's road development is based on "Securing Afghanistan's Future: Accomplishments and the Strategic Path Forward," prepared by the Government with assistance from major donors, including ADB.

The Government aims to rehabilitate the country's road network and strengthen domestic linkages between the capital; all major cities; major commercial, industrial production, and mining centers; and provincial and district headquarters.

In an international conference in Berlin on Afghanistan's future held earlier this year, ADB pledged $1 billion in loans and grants to the country for 2005-2008.

The Ministry of Public Works will execute the TA, to be carried out over 11 months to September 2005. The Government is contributing $360,000 equivalent toward the TA's total cost of $2.36 million.

http://www.adb.org/media/Articles/2004/5579_afghanistan_road_master_plan/default.asp?RegistrationID=Guest

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