Monday, 27 February 2017

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, on Sunday 26th of February 2017, signed a contract of electricity development project with the Indian company KEC, worth USD 113,000,000.

The contract was signed at the Presidential Palace in Kabul between Chief Executive of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), Mohammad Jalil Shams and Pankaj Kumar Tandon, the Head of KEC. The project is to extend (about 350 km) the transmission lines of 220KW power from central Ghazni province to southern province of Kandahar.


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Япония выделила $3,000,000 на поддержку проекта городского развития в Афганистане

Правительство Японии выделило 3,3 млн. долларов США на ремонт инфраструктуры в Афганистане. Соответствующий контракт подписали представитель Японии Кенджи Эоношита и Тим Макнейр, глава программы UN-Habitat Афганистан. Средства будут направлены на ремонт дренажных систем, водостоков, мостов и укрепление зданий школ и больниц в сейсмоопасных районах. Проект официально стартует 01 апреля 2017 и продлится до 31 марта 2019 года. Проект улучшит условия жизни 4 млн. афганских жителей. Крупные города ИРА страдают от множества проблем с износом инфраструктуры, которая к тому же не была рассчитана на такое количество жителей при проектировании.

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Signed Memorandum of Understanding for TAPI gas pipeline design between the Afghanistan Gas Enterprise and the German Company ILF

Agreement for the engineering design of the project was signed by the Afghan Gas Enterprise and Germany’s ILF Company, the Afghanistan Presidential Palace said in a statement. The acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, H.E. Ghezal Habibyar, said the practical implantation of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project will take 3 years while the design, management and other tasks of the project will be completed in an additional year. The President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, the deputy Chief Eexecutive Mohammad Mohaqiq, the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House of Parliament) speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar and a number of foreign officials attended at the signing ceremony which was held at the Presidential Palace. “The TAPI pipeline project will cost $7.4 million and will be completed in two phases,” the Minister of mines and petroleum said. He added: “The first phase of the project – which includes the security of the project, agreements, design, social and environmental study, demining, a survey of the pipeline’s route and expropriation will be completed in one year.” The two phases will take four years. The pipeline (1,735 kilometers long) has the capacity of transferring 33 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through Herat, Farah, Helmand and Nimroz provinces of Pakistan. Afghanistan will earn USD 400 million per year from the pipeline, he added. “The pipeline will change Afghanistan into a transit hub for Central Asia. It will be an important economic corridor for Afghanistan because other projects like a power transmission project, a railway project, industrial parts and an optic fiber project will be built along the TAPI pipeline route,” the acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum of Afghanistan added.

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Japan government supports city resilience project in Afghanistan, including risk reduction, human and economic losses, and impacts, particularly the life of women and girls and vulnerable people in Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul

The government of Japan has pledged USD 3,300,000 to support city resilience project in Afghanistan, including risk reduction, human and economic losses, and impacts, particularly the life of women and girls and vulnerable people in cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul. The Diplomatic Mission of Japan in a statement said the funds will be spent through the technical assistance of UN-Habitat, and in collaboration with Independent Directorate of Local Governance/Deputy Ministry of Municipality (IDLG/DMM), Kabul Municipality, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) and Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA). The statement further added, the relevant documents for “The Project for City Resilience” were signed at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul on February 22, 2017 between Mr. Kenji EONOSHITA, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Embassy of Japan to Afghanistan and Mr. Tim McNair, Country Programme Manager of UNHABITAT with the witness of H.E. Minister of MUDH Sayed Sadat Mansour Naderi, H.E. State Minister for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs Wais Ahmad Barmak, H.E. Acting Director General of IDLG/Deputy Minister of Municipality Abdul Baqi Popal, and H.E. Acting Mayor of Kabul Municipality Abdullah Habibzai. Around 4.2 million citizens in two cities are expected to benefit through developing and implementing City Resilience Action Plan. City resilience will be enhanced through the analysis of city risk and resilience, disaster risk reduction campaigns and improvement of critical infrastructures, such as improving canal/river bank, drainage system, and vulnerable bridges and shelters, the statement added. According to the statement, the project also directly benefits over 50,000 people in target communities by implementing Community Resilience Action Plan which will strengthen the capacity of targeted urban communities, to prevent and reduce risk, and to prepare for disaster. Communities will enhance its resilience through community-led activities, such as disaster drills, making schools/clinics resilient to earthquake and reinforcing vulnerable housings.

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Afghanistan to set out its export strategies

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan took its 1st steps towards creation of a National Export Strategy (NES) that will set out its trade priorities. About 100 representatives from the public and private sector are meeting in these days in Kabul to explore challenges and opportunities for improving Afghanistan’s trade performance. The National Export Strategy should detail a series of investments needed to unleash export growth and job creation in sectors with high trade potential, detailed five-year action plan, and an integrated implementation management framework. Organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), the first consultation on Afghanistan’s National Export Strategy provided an opportunity for participants to share their views> Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry said “The first NES consultation will capture a comprehensive picture of the current business environment in Afghanistan. This will assist in the development of an effective export strategy, ultimately allowing Afghanistan to expand export earnings, enhance trade competitiveness and to achieve greater economic diversification.”  ITC Executive Director said “Entry into the WTO will make predictable and open trade possible for Afghanistan. The National Export Strategy is a good next step in making trade happen. The Strategy will provide a guiding compass for a series of strategic actions including investments, value-chain development, institutional support mechanisms, and improvement of Afghanistan’s regulatory environment.”  The Ambassador of the EU to Afghanistan, said “Moving forward the private sector development agenda must be a priority for Afghanistan if it wants to shift from aid dependency towards sustainable growth and job creation. The National Export Strategy will guide Afghanistan’s efforts to realize the potential of its exports sector as an important driver for economic growth. Urgent credible reforms and strong government engagement with the private sector are required to support the enabling environment for business in areas such as licensing – cutting red tape, access to finance, energy and markets, transport, connectivity and agricultural productivity, as well as a fair taxation system that allows SMEs to prosper.”  The CEO of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said “The development of a National Export Strategy for Afghanistan is a high priority item that is foreseen to stimulate the growth of the private sector in addition to providing a high degree of mobility and stability. This is especially relevant in the context of a landlocked environment, with a volatile economy that has stagnated and a trade balance that involves 95-5 imports-exports ratio. It is a much appreciated and timely endeavor that is fully supported by the ACCI.”  A second participatory consultation to be held in May 2017 will analyse priority sectors and support functions such as access to finance which will form the core of the National Export Strategy.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The 4th South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference turns spotlight on e-Government Procurement

On 20 February 2017 Sri Lanka welcomed the Heads of Public Procurement Agencies or Authorities of eight South Asian countries to the Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference. The conference was inaugurated by H.E President Maithripala Sirisena. The theme of the conference, “E-GP in South Asia – Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges,” throws the spotlight on how E-Government Procurement can support countries in boosting the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of their public procurement systems. While South Asian countries find themselves at different stages in the introduction and operationalizing of E-GP systems, it is seen as a tool that not only enables strategic public procurement, but can provide a wealth of data that feeds back into the steady improvement and increasing effectiveness of E-GP services. Addressing the gathering, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka said: “At the World Bank, we are committed to procurement reforms with a view to improving market efficiency and better service delivery.” She added, “It is well understood, and illustratable with examples from many parts of the world, that weak procurement systems steer investments away from development and hence minimize the impact on poverty reduction and shared prosperity.” The Colombo conference is the fourth in a series of South Asia Region Public Procurement Conferences. The first installment was in Kathmandu, Nepal in April 2011, the second in Islamabad, Pakistan in March 2014, and the most recent in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2015. The Conference is an important feature of the evolving South Asia Region Public Procurement Network (SARPPN). During this Conference, the winners of the first ever South Asia Procurement Innovation Awards 2016-17 will also be felicitated for their winning papers. The Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference is being hosted by the Department of Public Finance, Ministry of Finance, Government of Sri Lanka, and the conference is co‐sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank. After the inauguration in Colombo, the conference now moves to Kandy till February 23, where there will be more in-depth technical sessions. The final output of the Conference will take the form of an action plan to track progress in this specific area.

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Branch of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) formally inaugurated in the capital of Afghanistan

The Office of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was formally inaugurated in Kabul on 16 February 2017 in presence of senior government officials, including deputy foreign minister H.E. Hekmat Khalil Karzai. Addressing the ceremony, Karzai said the ICC office in the capital city would further help the country to gain international credibility for its exports. The ICC office would help encourage investment in the country and further connect Afghanistan with the international market. The request of Afghan entrepreneurs for the establishment of ICC branch in Kabul was approved at the global conference in Brazil. Headquartered in Paris, the ICC is the largest and the most diverse business organization in the world. The ICC has hundreds of thousands of member companies that represent more than 130 countries and a broad bouquet of business interests.
The ICC encompasses a vast network of committees and experts within all industries in order to keep members fully informed on all issues that could affect them, and maintains contacts within the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and other intergovernmental agencies. ICC aims to support economic growth through promoting trade and investment and facilitate economic services and goods in the international markets.


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Young Social Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan (YSEA)

YSEA is a cooperation of various young creative and social minds dedicated to assure continual development and improvement of peace and stability in Afghanistan through entrepreneurship.

YSEA, Young Social Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan is a new generation of social and innovative mindset towards entrepreneurship with an ethical business behaviour to redefine and reengineer a system to manifold reciprocity of the community towards enhancement of prosperity.


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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani discussed the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project with his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov

The two presidents exchanged views on the issues of mutual interest about regional and international policy. Turkmenistan bears 85% of the cost of the 10bn project and the remaining will be shared equally by Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The field development project has been awarded to Japanese companies that are extracting gas against a service fee. TAPI is an important linchpin in the realization of the New Silk Road in the arena of energy where Afghanistan again plays a central role in connecting energy-rich Central Asia to energy-deficient South Asia. The idea of the USD 7.6 billion (initial estimate of the cost) pipeline first originated in 1995 when the Turkmenistan and Pakistan leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The project aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year through a proposed 1,800-kilomter pipeline from the Dauletabad gas field in Turkmenistan along the highway through Herat, Helmand and Kandahar in Afghanistan, to Quetta and Multan in Pakistan, and on to Fazilka in India. The pipeline could become a recipe for long-term stability in Afghanistan by generating revenue for the Afghan government and creating jobs for Afghans in general. Envisaged to be completed by 2018, the pipeline is expected to produce over USD 400,000,000 a year in revenues for Afghanistan. It will further provide an alternative energy source for Afghanistan, which is currently depending on Iran for fuel. In addition to the economic benefits that the project will bring in its wake to the participating countries, it has serious geopolitical implications as well that will further bolster Afghanistan’s ties with its neighbors, particularly Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan’s tensions over trade and terrorism are profound. The TAPI project will promote positive political and economic interaction between the two neighboring nations by providing an avenue for mutually-beneficial economic cooperation.
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PROMOTE is USAID’s largest women’s empowerment program in the Agency’s history, aimed at advancing opportunities for Afghan women:

Teenage girl polishes shoes to earn money for her family
An Afghan teenage girl who polishes
shoes to make money for her family in Kabul
According to rights organizations' estimation, at least a quarter of Afghan children between ages 5 and 14 work for a living or to help their families. Many are employed in jobs that can result in illness, injury, or even death due to hazardous working conditions and poor enforcement of safety and health standards.

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Afghan females take over kite making industry

Afghan females have entered the kite making industry, which has historically been a male-dominated industry. The need to feed their families has forced many Afghan women to embark on this new adventure.
Currently, at least 70 families, made up mostly of women and girls, are supplying kites to the Afghan market. A group of businessmen have established a new kite shop in Kabul where the kites made by women are sold along with other popular Afghan recreational products.
Flying kites, Gudyparan Bazi, is a common hobby in Afghanistan. Afghans have been flying kites for more than 100 years.
The outdoor sport was banned by the Taliban as it was against their laws. Afghans revived this sport right after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
Afghans fly the fighter kites to compete with one another by cutting the opponent’s kite. Kite cutting is when your kite’s string severs the string of your competitor.

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Иранский сухопутный порт Чабахар предполагается открыть для афганских бизнесменов в течение месяца

В индийском штате Нагпур уже начались десятидневные курсы обучения афганских налоговиков, которые будут работать в порту, а в ближайшее время будут налажены авиарейсы Кабул-Мумбаи.
Порт Чабахар является альтернативным пакистанскому торгово-транзитному маршруту, поиском которых афганское правительство активно занимается в связи с систематическими нарушениями Пакистаном торгово-транзитного соглашения.

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Herat-Chisty Sharif, a 155 km-long road to come out of isolation

A one-hundred and fifty-five kilometer road will facilitate connections between Herat and Chisty Sharif in western Afghanistan, helping thousands of citizens come out of isolation, representing an important stretch of road connecting the eastern area to the western area of the country. The Italian government, with the support of Development Cooperation, allocated over 92 million euro for the construction of the 155 kilometer road.

The signing ceremony of the financial agreement took place 1 February in Kabul, before the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Italian Ambassador Roberto Cantone, the Director of AICS [Italian Agency for Development Cooperation) Rosario Centola, the Minister of Finance, Eklil Hakimi, and the Minister of Public Works, Mahmood Baligh.

The project is under scrutiny before beginning to work on portions of the construction, which are expected to be completed in three-four years. It will be funded with a credit line stipulated between Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Afghan Ministry of Finance for a total amount of 92,271,824 euros, besides the 2 million euros donated to UNOPS (UN Office for Projects and Services) for the technical assistance on the construction. Once completed, the road will become the strategic commercial route for the upcoming inter-modal hub in Herat, which will include programmes intersecting road, rail and air transport systems.

Italy has been engaged in developing several infrastructure projects for over a decade in various areas in western Afghanistan, such as the Herat bypass, the railway which will connect Herat to Marshad, and the upgrade of the airport according to international ICAO standards, with a financial allocation exceeding 277 million euros.

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Monday, 6 February 2017

The Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) electricity supply project suffers setback, French firm seeks time

The Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) electricity supply project could not be completed on schedule due to a delay in the award of a contract for converter stations following a request from a French company. Four countries that are part of the project -- Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan -- have agreed to give relaxation in the timeframe, keeping in view the request of Alstom, a credible name and a major supplier of converter stations across the world. The Express Tribune quoted an official as saying that several interested companies, including the General Electric of the US, Siemens of Germany and Japan’s Mitsubishi, had responded to the invitation for bids. However, Alstom sought more time. Two converter stations are planned to be set up in Tajikistan and Pakistan for transmitting electricity under the Casa-1,000 project that will link Central and South Asia through an energy corridor. Invited one year ago, the bids were cancelled due to high prices quoted for setting up the converter stations, which would convert direct current into alternative current or the reverse. “A fresh process for awarding the contract is going on,” the official said. Casa-1,000 was expected to be completed by the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018. However, the target will be missed due to the delay in the award of tender for the setting up of converter stations. “Now, this project is likely to be ready in 2020,” the official said.
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Friday, 3 February 2017

The Central Bank of Afghanistan calls for proper maintenance of banknotes

The Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Da Afghanistan Bank, announced that shabby banknotes will no longer be valid starting from the coming solar year 1396.


According to the officials, this measure is as per Article 39 of Da Afghanistan Bank and it helps to prevent wearing out of further banknotes in the market.

The following features seen in a banknote will make it invalid:

  • Presence of a sticky material on the banknote
  • Any writing or drawing on the banknote
  • Any stamp on the banknote
  • Poorly folded, wrinkled banknote

The Central Bank of Afghanistan called on the public to take proper care of the banknotes and prevent them from wearing out.

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Former all-round cricketer Phil Simmons appointed Afghanistan's coaching consultant

West Indies' former player Phil Simmons who also coached three teams has been named Afghanistan's coaching consultant.

Simmons, 53, a former all-round cricketer, served as head coach for, Zimbabwe, Ireland and his native side respectively.
He enjoyed a successful reign in charge as coach for West Indies, winning World T20 championship last year. Simmons helped Associate nation Ireland’s standing in international cricket grow since he took charge in 2007. With his tenure including 224 matches, Simmons is considered to be the longest serving coach in international cricket.
Under him, Ireland won eleven trophies and qualified for major events. 
Phil Simmons will be assisting Afghanistan’s head coach Lalchand Rajput on technical issues.

"He has tremendous experience in team management and has immense technical expertise,” it said. “His appointment will have a great impact on team performance.”

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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

German-supported schools in Kabul: the Lycée Jamhuriat, the Amani boys’ school and the Aishe-e Durani girls’ school, started their admission process for future students

During the upcoming eight days 190 fourth grade applicants will be assessed through a computer-based test. The new system, developed with the support of the Afghan-German Cooperation, uses objective criteria based on international standards. 
The new admission process aims at finding the most promising and talented children from the entire country. It tests the children’s intelligence, working memory and problem-solving skills without requiring prior reading or writing skills. The purpose of this is to give all students the same chances, independent of their former education. “I appreciate the test as it helps to find the most talented children who will get a chance to receive education from a very good school. This transparent approach motivates the children to focus on their studies and perform well,” said Ghulam Dastagir, the father of one of the applicants. Paul Glause, the head of the program supporting these schools, said: “Education paves the way for a better future. We are very happy that this newly developed admission system, objective criteria will decide on the children’s admission to these high-quality schools. Every child now has a fair chance to be admitted – no matter the social or educational background.” The children who pass the test will receive high quality education in one of the three German-supported schools in Kabul. The Lycée Jamhuriat as well as the Aishe-e Durani and Amani school are currently implementing reforms in order to further improve teaching quality. Teachers and support staff have received special training, including courses on various teaching methods for various subjects such as mathematics, informatics, English and German. Well-equipped laboratories and gyms are now available in all three schools. Further improvements, such as all-day schooling, the extension of teaching weeks from 26 to 38 hours a week and a heating system that will allow students to attend school throughout the entire year, are planned to be implemented this year. All restructuring efforts comply with the Afghan Ministry of Education’s National Education Strategic Plan III. To plan and implement the necessary changes, the German programme for strengthening the aforementioned schools has provided technical and financial support. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s project Strengthening of German-supported Schools in Kabul (SGS) aims at improving the overall quality of education. For this purpose, three secondary schools in Kabul are undergoing reforms to become model schools: the Amani boys’ school, the Lycée Jamhuriat and the Aishe-e Durani girls’ school. They receive support in improving their facilities and curricula as well as in enhancing teachers’ skills. In the future, a newly established organisation, the Afghan Education for Excellence Organization (AEFEO), will assume this responsibility.
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В афганской провинции Нангархара заработал первый завод по производству риса

Первый в провинции завод по производству риса открылся в Нангархаре. Строительство завода стоимостью более 1,4 млн. долларов США профинансировало Агентство международного развития (АМР) совместно с компанией 'Сами Ибрагим'. Эта инициатива создаст 4,3 тыс. рабочих мест для жителей провинции, включая крестьян, выращивающих рис. К настоящему времени завод заключил контракты на поставку сырья с двумя тысячами крестьян.

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