Electrification in Afghanistan

Life in Kabul is probably much more comfortable than any other parts of the country.
I say this because of the fact that electricity is widely available here in Kabul (though with frequent blackouts).

In Kabul and other major cities, 70% of the population is said to have access to electricity. Even the countless mud houses on the hill (which were originally illegal) now get grid electricity.

In Kabul, 70% of people have access to electricity - including those houses on the hills.

But if you look at Afghanistan as a whole, only 15% does. It means only 3 million live with electricity at home, while remaining 25 million depends on traditional fuels like kerosene for lighting, wood stove for cooking.

Many projects are going on within the country in order to improve the country’s power supply, including building new hydro power plants, purchasing more power from neighboring countries – Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, building transmission lines as well as distribution network in urban area.

The Afghanistan government (and international donors such as World Bank, ADB, USAID) has a target of providing access to electricity to 30-40% of the population in the next 15 years. The plan is to build a big circle of major transmission line that connects major cities in north, east, south, and west of Afghanistan. Smaller cities and towns along the transmission line will be connected to the grid, but not the ones away from the line.

Yes, after all these huge infrastructure projects, still, 60-70% of Afghans will get access to electricity. Considering the country’s power sector has never been able to serve any more than 20% of its people, this may be an ambitious goal. However, I want to urge the government and donors to take measures to address the difficulties faced by the off-grid populations. Not through random projects to give out solar home systems here and there, but 5, 10 year plan to gradually but steadily decrease the number.

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