Afghanistan Needs $50 Million in Renewable Energy

Afghanistan needs US$50 million of renewable energy installed over the next ten years, as part of the country’s reconstruction of its energy sector, according to the World Bank.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2002-01-31 [] “More than two decades of conflict and three years of drought have led to widespread human suffering and massive displacement of people in Afghanistan,” says a preliminary needs assessment prepared by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the Asian Development Bank. The document will be discussed at the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, which has started in Tokyo. The reconstruction of Afghanistan is expected to cost $15 billion over the next decade. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1378 to provide reconstruction that would buttress the political settlement, and the preliminary assessment is to determine the requirement of external assistance to support economic and social recovery over the short and medium term. The assessment does not cover humanitarian assistance. Within the next three years, a priority will be the preparation of a national strategy to provide an analysis of conservation and resource management issues, including the identification of urgent environmental problems and raising public consciousness about environmental concerns. The strategy would also need to launch projects aimed at environmental rehabilitation that rely on local traditional knowledge in the area of renewable energy, it explains. Funding for capital investment, technical assistance and building costs over ten years would require US$1 billion for the electricity sector to double its pre-war capacity to 900 MW. The petroleum sector needs $90 million, $150 million for natural gas and $40 million for the coal sector, and $50 million for renewable energy. Most investments costs in the environmental sector are aggregated in other activities, but the report estimates that costs for the environment over ten years are $30 million for pilot projects aimed at environmental rehabilitation, including development of renewable energy, reforestation, watershed management and environmental health improvements. “Given past turmoil in Afghanistan, much of the available data on the country is out of date,” the report explains. The information has not been verified and the World Bank warns that conclusions should be treated as indicative. The reconstruction program must reverse environmental degradation in rural areas and facilitate private sector engagement in rebuilding the economy. In the longer term, attention must be given to medium and large hydropower schemes.

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