KABUL (Pajhwok): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $154.4 million grant to boost the supply of power in Afghanistan by extending the country’s power grid into the western provinces of Herat and Farah, ensuring access to electricity for vulnerable communities in those provinces, a statement said on Thursday.
The assistance included $36.4 million from the Asian Development Fund. The Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF) has supplied an additional $118 million in cofinancing, contributed by the Government of Italy through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Afghan National Army Trust Fund.
AITF, administered by ADB, is a donor-financed fund established in 2010 to improve the livelihoods of the Afghan people through infrastructure development.
“Herat and Farah are not connected to the national grid, leading to higher costs of doing business for people in these provinces, environmental degradation, and weak sustainable development indicators,” said ADB Energy Specialist Takhmina Mukhamedova.
“Connecting villages in these two provinces to the grid will tangibly and sustainably improve health outcomes, living conditions, and economic opportunities for households living in the harshest conditions.”
Electrification of Western Afghanistan is a priority for the government in order to reduce the significant social and economic costs associated with the lack of clean, safe, and affordable energy sources.
The project will extend power supply from Turkmenistan under the ongoing power purchase and sales agreement between the two countries.
This includes supplying power transmission from local wind and solar photovoltaic projects of up to 100 megawatts and substituting electricity generated from diesel with renewable and imported gas-based grid power at a lower cost.
The project will also finance first time access to electricity in the targeted areas.
The project is aligned with the government’s National Energy Supply Program, ADB’s Strategy 2030, and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program’s Energy Strategy 2030. It is also aligned with ADB’s Afghanistan Country Partnership Strategy, 2017–2021, and its country operations business plan for Afghanistan, 2019–2021.
ADB is one of Afghanistan’s largest on-budget development partners in the energy sector with cumulative commitments of $1.77 billion in grants since 2002. The project is financed from ADB’s Special Funds resources and is part of an overall $1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program (2015–2024).
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.