AT-KABUL: Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance and Ms. Shanny Campbell, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan today (Sunday) signed grant agreement of $60 million to provide more electricity for Afghan households, businesses and industry by extending the national grid connectivity into eastern provinces and strengthen the north-east power system in the presence of H.E. the President, Cabinet Members and PMs at the beginning of the High Economic Council in ARG, a statement from Ministry of Finance said.
The project is part of the total $1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program (2015-2024) and will be financed from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF). AITF, administered by ADB, is a donor-financed fund established in 2010 which aims to improve livelihoods of the Afghan people through infrastructure development, the statement added.
“Energy is one of the government’s high priority sectors and a base for economic growth. Connections between major power systems in the country can create plenty of opportunities for newly-connected communities. The transmission networks supported by ADB under both reconstruction and new construction projects will bring reliable electricity supply,” said Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance.
“Increased access to efficient and sustainable energy sources can help Afghanistan to meet its economic growth aspirations,” said Samuel Tumiwa, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan. “The assistance signed today will, respectively, support the government’s national energy supply program, which aims to expand power supply to boost economic growth and income opportunities.”
Energy demand in Afghanistan is increasing by almost twice its economic growth rate. Currently, 20 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan are not connected to the power grid supply which increases cost of doing business, deteriorates environment, and subdues sustainable development indicators, the statement added.
According to statement, the project will construct a 190-kilometer (km) 220-kilovolt (kV) transmission line between capital Kabul and Nangarhar provincial capital Jalalabad. It will enable nearly 300 MW of grid power into Nangarhar and adjoining provinces. Phase 2 of this project will extend the power grid into Kunar province.
The transmission line would provide significant value addition to provide sustainable power to two industrial parks in eastern Afghanistan and enable grid stability by interconnection with transmission lines in adjoining provinces. In addition, the transmission line will have capacity to energize additional 300,000 new connections to residential, commercial and industrial consumers, the statement added.
ADB is Afghanistan’s largest official development partner in the energy sector. ADB has helped deliver electricity to more than 5 million people in Afghanistan. Over the coming years, ADB will support the increase in the country’s electrification rate from 30% to 83%, and lift the share of domestic generation from 20% to 67% by 2030. ADB will also play a major role in power transmission both regionally and domestically, and promote clean energy, including through solar power.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in co-financing.
It is worth mentioning that, Ministry of Finance and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided information to media about the agreement in the Government Media and Information Center (GMIC).