Scaling up physical and human capital investments while improving project implementation performance is the key to Nepal’s higher and inclusive growth and more rapid poverty reduction, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Wencai Zhang said Friday, adding infrastructure development is one of ADB’s priority areas for assistance in the country.
“In the next five years, ADB can provide about $1.5 billion in the concessional Asian Development Fund resources to Nepal, to support Nepal’s economic and sector reforms, and investments in critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, urban services, and irrigation, as well as in human capital development and agriculture transformation,” said Zhang. “In this context, it is very important that the overall project implementation performance is substantially enhanced to achieve the intended development impact and qualify for increased ADB assistance,” he added.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Government of Nepal to work closely with ADB to enhance readiness of new projects, strengthen project management systems to pursue timely procurement and work execution, and support capacity and institutional development of sector agencies through long-term partnership. All these measures are critical for improving overall project implementation performance,” he said.
During his four-day visit to Nepal, the Vice-President met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Federal Affairs and Local Development Prakash Man Singh; Minister of Finance and ADB’s Governor Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat; Minister of Urban Development Dr. Narayan Khadka; Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada; Vice Chairperson of National Planning Commission Dr. Gobinda Pokharel; Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel; and other senior government officials.
He discussed ADB operations in the country and emphasized the need to urgently address infrastructure deficits, building capacity, establish an enabling policy environment, and promote private sector investment. During his visit, Zhang also met with representatives of development partners, private sector, and the media. “I am very pleased that the Government is accelerating a range of economic and sector reforms to boost public and private sector investments.” Zhang said
VP Zhang is also scheduled to visit the ADB-assisted Melamchi Water Supply Project and the Gautam Buddha Airport and other components of the South Asia Tourism Infrastructure Development Project in Lumbini to observe the latest progress first hand.
Zhang is the Vice-President (Operations 1) of ADB, responsible for ADB operations in South Asia and Central and West Asia. Prior to joining ADB, Zhang was the Director General of the Department of External Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).