On 17 June, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Afghan Power Plant Company Limited (APPC) signed a $10 million loan, ADB said in a statement.
According to ADB, this loan is part of a financing package for the Mazar gas-fired power plant, supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to achieve long-term energy security through affordable domestic power sources.
The project is the first private sector gas-fired plant in Afghanistan to be funded by development finance institutions, says ADB.
#ADBNEWS: The project, the first of its kind in Afghanistan to be funded by development institutions, represents a significant engagement by ADB to support essential infrastructure through private sector in a fragile & conflict-affected situation.
— Asian Development Bank (@ADB_HQ) June 18, 2020
ADB says that in line with its long-term corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, the bank supports essential infrastructure through the private sector in a fragile and conflict-affected situation.
“ADB will also administer a $10 million loan for the project provided by Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP),” the statement adds.
The ABD says that the loan provides long-term financing to build and operate a 58.56-megawatt gas-fired power plant located near Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
“The project cost a total of $89 million, will use indigenous gas and is expected to generate 404 gigawatt-hours of power annually,” the statement writes.
Director of Infrastructure Finance Chakraborty, said, “This project is definitive proof that indigenous gas-based power generation is capable of displacing electricity imports in Afghanistan and helping to deliver energy security.”
He added, “Its success will send an important signal to the market that Afghanistan’s power industry is now ready to attract more private sector investment and financing.”
APPC Chairman Ismail Ghazanfar said, “This is the first step in Ghazanfar Group’s vision of helping to develop 5,000 megawatts of energy generation facilities in Afghanistan through partnerships with international development banks, local and international companies, and the Government of Afghanistan.”
It is worth mentioning that Afghanistan imports at least 75% of its energy needs.
Eight killed in Balkh explosion
At least eight people were killed when a bus, carrying employees of an oil company, was bombed in northern Balkh province, police said on Tuesday.
“Today around 7 a.m. a road side mine blast took place in District 3 of Mazar-e-Sharif city on a bus, which belonged to Hairatan Oil employees,” said Mohammad Asif Wazeri, police spokesman for northern Balkh province, adding that at least nine people were also wounded in the explosion.
But the public health of Balkh province is talking about the increase of victims.
Najibullah Tawana, head of Balkh public health, says that eight people were killed and nine wounded have been taken to hospital after today’s explosion. One person is critical, he said.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast.
This comes after at least six people were wounded in an explosion on Saturday in Nangarhar’s Jalalabad city that also caused serious damage to shops and businesses in the area.
One of the shops damaged in this explosion was that of Gul Charan – the city’s only Sikh resident.
According to local officials, the incident is being investigated.
The security officials of Jalalabad meanwhile say the explosion was caused by an IED embedded in a flowerpot.
The residents of the city have called on the Islamic Emirate to prevent such events in the future.
So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
Educational center established for war-affected students in Balkh
In Balkh district of Afghanistan’s Balkh province, a teacher has established an educational center for more than two hundred war-affected students in cooperation with a charity organization.
The teacher said that in this region, due to the past wars, students were deprived of education to attend school for several years and could not continue their education.
Mahbub Afghan Mal, head of the organization who cooperated in establishing this educational center, said that more than two hundred students are currently studying in different classes; however, expressed concern over the lack of more facilities for students.
“Currently, the facilities we have are enough for a hundred people, as you filmed the classrooms, there are fifty to sixty students in each of our classroom, which is not standard and we have no choice but to do so,” he said.
However, a number of teachers have added that they are using the opportunity created to make up for lost lessons, calling on the government to cooperate with them in order to establish more educational centers and libraries.
“I stopped studying for five to six years, now I came to this educational center to continue my studies and achieve my dreams,” said a student.
“The teachers here are very good. We ask the government to cooperate for us with chairs, tables, pens and bags,” said another student.
It is said that subjects such as math, computer, calligraphy, English, Pashto, Dari and mobile phone repair are taught in this educational center, and its sponsor is a charity foundation.
Meanwhile, in several other districts of this province, the wars of the last few years have caused schools to remain closed.
Women’s handicraft exhibition launched in Balkh
An exhibition under the name of “female entrepreneurs’ handicrafts” has been launched in Balkh province for three days.
The organizers of this exhibition said that women entrepreneurs have displayed their handicrafts in eighty stalls.
Dozens of women in this exhibition called holding such exhibitions useful for the presence of women in the society, especially in business affairs, and demanded more participation of women in institutions and offices from the government.
In this exhibition, women displayed their crafts in different sections, including sewing, weaving, flower embroidery, leather embroidery, bag sewing, dairy and pastry making.
The officials of the Balkh Chamber of Commerce, especially its women’s section, said that holding such an exhibition will be positive when there are a foreign buyer and people support domestic products by purchasing them.
Since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan took control of the country in August last year, this has been the third exhibition launched in Balkh province.
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