EU, AKDN launch project to boost Afghanistan-Tajikistan border trade

KABUL (TCA) — Officials from the European Union and Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) said they will spend over $16 million to promote border trade and expand economic ties along the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

According to officials, this will be part of the Supporting Cooperation and Opportunities for Regional Economic Development (SCORED) program.

SCORED, launched on Sunday in Kabul, is a long term social and economic development project for Afghanistan and Tajikistan and will depend on ensuring stability along the 1,300km-long shared border.

According to project organizers, this stability requires collaboration and strong cooperation in economic, financial, social and cultural spheres – that can “create the condition for equitable growth and integration.”

The project will also provide a solid foundation for encouraging longer-term cross-border exchange and cooperation, and is intended to begin the process of unlocking the local economic potential of this area.

SCORED, on both sides of the border, will be funded by the European Union, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and Germany’s KFW Development Bank.

According to officials, part of this money will be spent on the construction of a sixth bridge across the Amu River in Takhar province that will connect the two countries.

Once this has been completed, local markets and bazaars will be established on both sides of the borders – allowing business people and traders easy access to both countries.

“This money will be used for construction of a bridge and a number of other projects to promote local business and trade on both sides of the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan,” Najmuddin Najm, deputy head of AKDN in Afghanistan said.

Currently five bridges have been established along the Amu River between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. According to AKDN officials the establishment of these bridges has led to the creation of local markets on both sides of the border.

SCORED will also support micro and small enterprises and encourage a culture of entrepreneurship and cross-border collaboration.

Project partners say they hope to positively impact the lives of over 1 million people along the border area over the five-year implementation period.

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Times of Central Asia