15 августа, 2018 15:38

DUSHANBE, 15.08.2018. /NIAT “Khovar”/. Asian Development Bank’s Vice-President Wencai Zhang visited Tajikistan. He had meetings with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Qohir Rasulzoda, First Deputy Prime Minister Davlatali Said, and other government officials. During the meetings, they discussed Tajikistan’s development priorities and cooperation with ADB.

Editor of the NIAT “Khovar” Russian Service Elena BATENKOVA met with Wencai ZHANG and asked him about future cooperation with Tajikistan and projects that will be jointly implemented.

— Mr. Wencai Zhang, this year marks 20 years since Tajikistan began cooperation with the Asian Development Bank. What are main achievements of this cooperation, in your opinion?

— I feel proud to mark 20 years of development partnership with Tajikistan. Tajikistan joined ADB in 1998, and during the 20 years ADB has approved over $1.6 billion in grants, concessional loans, and technical assistance to the country. ADB-funded projects helped to rehabilitate hundreds of kilometers of roads, several hydropower plants, several key power substations, construct hundreds of kilometers of power transmission lines, bridges, river embankments, irrigation systems, social facilities. ADB made big contribution to economic and social development of the country.

In addition to infrastructure projects, ADB has supported economic reforms in Tajikistan.

ADB has also supported many initiatives on regional cooperation and integration under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program.

— Investing is many-sided. Could you please explain how it is done in your organization, how projects are selected and prepared?

— To make investments successful, they need to be looked at from different sides. First, ADB has certain policies on project design and implementation. ADB has strict procedures on procurement, social and environment safeguards, financial management. To prepare an investment project, ADB provides a technical assistance to do feasibility study and financial and economic analysis. We have strict rules to finance projects. Projects must be sustainable and give good results. We have another type of assistance – policy-based lending. To prepare such programs, we first discuss reforms that government needs to implement and then provide budget support. For example, the investment climate improvement program envisages measures to protect business, increase innovation, and others.

— How do you assess efforts of the Government of Tajikistan in economic and social development?

— For the last 20 years, Tajikistan has achieved good results in economic development. The country maintained high growth rates in the last several years. In 2017, GDP growth reached 7.1%. By ADB estimates, this year the growth will be 6.5%, same rate is expected in the next year. Of course, challenges remain, including in the banking sector, low private investments. A lot needs to be done to improve macroeconomic stability, achieve a more inclusive and sustainable growth. But I believe, Tajikistan has big potential.

— ADB has recently adopted its new corporate strategy till 2030. Please tell us main directions of this strategy.

— Yes, on 26 July, ADB Board of Directors approved a new corporate strategy – Strategy 2030. Strategy 2030 sets the course for ADB to respond effectively to the region’s changing needs. Under Strategy 2030, ADB will combine finance, knowledge, and partnerships to sustain its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and expand its vision towards a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region. Strategy 2030 will give ADB new opportunities to be stronger, better, and faster.

ADB’s support will focus on seven operational priorities: addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities; accelerating progress in gender equality; tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience; making cities more livable; promoting rural development and food security; strengthening governance and institutional capacity; and fostering regional cooperation and integration.

Under the new strategy, ADB will strengthen private sector support and knowledge transfer. ADB will use a differentiated approach to different countries.

— What can we expect from ADB in coming years?

— Based on our 20 years of experience and in line with the new strategy and national priorities, we will try to strengthen our development support to the country. Currently, we are preparing a new business plan for 2019-2021. During the next three years, ADB plans to provide over $300 million to Tajikistan. The planned assistance program includes projects to rehabilitate key transport corridors, develop the financial sector, improve skills for job-seekers, support energy sector reforms and infrastructure improvements, enhance the investment climate, boost food security, health services and other projects.

Low private investments is one of the key challenges. ADB will continue to support investment climate improvement and improving the financial sector.

We understand that our financial resources are limited and not sufficient to satisfy the demand. Thus, we will continue to work with other multilateral and bilateral partners, and private sector to find co-financing.

Tajikistan is a land-locked country, regional energy and transport links are important. Tajikistan plays an important role in developing regional cooperation and integration, and we will continue our support to turn transport corridors into economic corridors.

— This is not your first visit to Tajikistan, isn’t it? What is your impression about our country?

— I visited Tajikistan several times, this is my 4th visit here. I try to come here every year since 2015. During my every visit, we have fruitful and open dialogue with the leadership of the country and high government officials. We discuss current cooperation and plans. For example, yesterday, I met with the Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda, we discussed business plan for the next three years and some important projects.

Tajikistan is a beautiful country with warm and hospitable people, rich culture and dynamic history. I look forward to continuing our cooperation. Tajikistan has bright future.

15 августа, 2018 15:38

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