KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (20 November 2017) — Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani witnessed the contract signing of two Asian Development Bank-financed (ADB) energy projects which will help Afghanistan boost energy supply, improve energy security and efficiency, and promote cross-border trade in energy.

President Ghani was joined by ADB Country Director for Afghanistan Samuel Tumiwa, cabinet ministers, and members of parliament at the ceremony. The contracts, totaling $75 million, are being financed from ADB’s Special Funds and the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF) approved in 2015. AITF, administered by ADB, is a donor-financed fund established in 2010 which aims to improve livelihoods of the Afghan people through infrastructure development.

“ADB, through its new Country Partnership Strategy, will support Afghanistan’s efforts to increase the electrification rate, play a major role in power transmission both regionally and domestically, and promote clean energy, including through solar power,” said Mr. Tumiwa. “The projects, which have been signed, will help provide more electricity for Afghan households, businesses, and industry.”

Energy demand in Afghanistan is increasing by almost twice its economic growth rate, and currently only about 32% of the population has access to grid-connected electricity. The country’s reliance on energy imports, small size of the domestic market, limitations in transmission and distribution networks, and governance and financing weaknesses leave Afghanistan’s energy security highly vulnerable.

The projects will help connect the last missing links for an expanded Turkmenistan-Afghanistan power interconnection, expanding the power grid to the central, eastern, and southern provinces, and provide redundancy to the existing transmission network. This will include the construction of over 300 kilometers (km) of a 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line connecting Sheberghan to Dashte Alwan and over 60 km of a 220 kV line from Andkhoy to Sheberghan.

The projects are part of the broader Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) regional connectivity project that ADB has been financing since 2003.

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, 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 cofinancing.

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