Officials from the Ministry of Energy and Water said Thursday that Afghanistan will build its first thermal power plant within two years and that it will have the capacity to generate 50 megawatts of electricity.
World Bank (WB) and a private firm Ghazanfar Group have pledged to provide financial and technical cooperation for the project.
Once complete, the project will benefit one million people living in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.
Based on the agreement, Ghazanfar Group in joint cooperation with the World Bank will invest $75 million USD in the project in the Sheberghan area where there is a gas field.
In response to the agreement, meanwhile, CEO Abdullah Abdullah called the move a key step in paving the way for the expansion of investments by the private sector in Afghanistan – specifically for energy generation.
“This is an important sign, we in government should fully support these moves, we should avoid putting illogical issues in the way of the private sector and investments,” said Abdullah.
President Ashraf Ghani’s advisor for energy Qayoum Qayoumi termed the agreement a step forward in terms of ending Afghanistan’s reliance on imported power.
“Investments by the private sector in energy generation has major implications on the dependency of Afghanistan on imported electricity. Therefore the government is strongly committed to supporting the private sector,” he said.
World Bank officials have pledged to increase their partnership with the Afghan government in projects.
In addition the ministry of water and energy has said that within two weeks, the third turbine will be installed in the Kajaki power dam in Helmand.
The energy ministry noted that once Kajaki dam becomes operational, 30 percent of the electricity will be supplied from domestic sources.