World Bank supports energy access in Afghanistan

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KABUL (TCA) — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on November 26 approved a $52.5 million grant for the Afghanistan Gas Project that will provide sustainable supply of natural gas to independent power producers in Northern Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Gas Project will provide direct financing and technical assistance for the construction, operation and maintenance of a gas pipeline from Sheberghan to Mazar-e-Sharif and a new natural gas desulfurization amine plant; and establishment of a strong institutional, regulatory, and contract management framework based on the principles of good governance in the gas sector, the World Bank said.

“By investing in critical gas infrastructure and developing a strong foundation for good governance in the gas sector, the project will improve Afghanistan’s energy supply, which is currently critically low, and contribute to poverty reduction,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan.

This project is one element of the World Bank Group’s broader support for improved energy access in Afghanistan, as part of an ongoing commitment to help developing countries extend access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for their citizens. The Bank has a long track record of supporting the expansion and improvement of energy access, both on and off-grid – through power generation, transmission and distribution, support to the private sector, and technical assistance and policy advice.

The support to domestic gas utilization will help diversify sources of electricity supply in the country and connect more Afghans to the electricity grid. Diversifying electricity sources will also provide more stable supply for existing users such as businesses, enabling them to grow and create more jobs for Afghans.

The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum will lead the overall implementation of the project in close coordination with other government agencies, including the Afghanistan Gas Enterprise, and the Afghanistan Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.

Sergey Kwan

TCA