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Afghanistan: Energy Supply

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in the provision of electricity networks and supply throughout Afghanistan since 2002; and if he will make a statement. (127152)

The latest quarterly progress report issued by the Government of Afghanistan (GoA)states that the Ministry of Energy and Water, in partnership with various donors and governments, has made considerable strides since 2003 to rehabilitate the provision of electricity throughout Afghanistan. It is estimated that 15 per cent. of the population now has access to some electrical power. This includes approximately 378,700 urban and rural households, 33,500 commercial establishments and 5,300 government institutions. However, access remains poor and is often unreliable. Furthermore, figures should be treated with caution as there are serious limitations in ability to measure some of the statistics. DFID is not directly engaged in this sector. Lead donors are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

In October 2002, USAID committed support for a national irrigation and power rehabilitation programme in conjunction with Afghanistan's Ministry of Energy and Water. The programme is focused on the rehabilitation of the south east power system (SEPS), a 100 MW power generation and transmission network. It aims to provide low cost and reliable power to 1.7 million residents in Helmand and Kandahar provinces by the end of 2009. Central to this initiative is a commitment to rehabilitate the Kajaki multi-purpose dam, built by USAID in 1953 on the Helmand river.

The programme is split into phases and will include rehabilitating and upgrading the dam, its power plant and associated transmission network by 2009. The first phase will increase Kajaki's generation capacity to 51 MW. Funding of $150 million has already been allocated for this work. The UK Government, through DFID, may fund smaller projects in the vicinity of the dam as part of a stabilisation programme.