The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $60 million grant to provide more electricity for Afghan households, businesses, and industry by extending the national grid connectivity into eastern provinces and strengthening the northeast power system.
The grant agreement for the project was signed by ADB’s Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan Shanny Campbell, and Afghanistan Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Eklil Ahmad Hakimi. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, parliamentarians, and senior government officials attended the signing, according to ADB.
The grant is financed through 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 project is part of an overall $1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program (2015-2024).
“Increased access to efficient and sustainable energy sources can help Afghanistan to meet its economic growth aspirations,” said Ms. Campbell. “The assistance signed, will 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 the cost of doing business and is detrimental to the environment.
The project will finance the construction of a 190-kilometer, 220-kilovolt transmission line between the capital Kabul and the Nangarhar provincial capital, Jalalabad. It will enable nearly 300 megawatts 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 the capacity to energize an additional 300,000 new connections to residential, commercial, and industrial consumers.
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.