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Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department has allocated for reconstruction, development and stabilisation projects in Babaji, Helmand province following the completion of Operation Panchai Palang; and what steps his Department is taking to secure contributions from international and development agencies for such projects. (286923)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has set aside a total of £72 million over the next four years to promote stability and development in Helmand province as a whole, including for projects in Babaji.

DFID also works with the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allocate additional funding to Helmand from the cross-departmental Stabilisation Aid Fund (SAF). The three Departments have agreed to set aside almost £15 million of SAF funding for district stabilisation projects across Helmand in 2009-10. In the Babaji area, funds will be used to respond to identified needs in the areas of health, education, policing, elections, justice and small-scale infrastructure. Our support will enable the Afghan Government to re-engage in Babaji.

Over the next few months, DFID will provide £5 million and the SAF will provide an additional £3 million for wheat seed, fertiliser, and agricultural assistance across Helmand province, including to farmers in Babaji. From September, USAID will provide agricultural vouchers, cash for work, and small business grants throughout Helmand, which will include Babaji.

DFID support includes two long-term infrastructure projects on which we are working with our international development partners. DFID has secured co-funding from the Asian Development Bank for the construction of a 48 km road through the Babaji area, connecting Lashkar Gah to Gereshk. DFID, the Asian Development Bank and the Danish Government will also co-fund the rehabilitation of a hydro-power plant in Gereshk. The project is expected to triple electrical generation capacity, benefiting 200,000 people.