Many years after the end of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan still needs a lot of external aid to build economic and social infrastructure. There is no other crisis region that receives more money from KfW.
Keeping food chilled, obtaining information from the Internet or charging mobile phones: for many people in Afghanistan these are just as far from everyday normality as clean water for drinking, cooking or washing. A decade of war clearly left its mark: numerous places are without power and drinking water, while the child mortality rate is among the highest in the world. The lack of schools, vocational education and jobs slows economic development down. This is compounded by the increasingly frequent attacks that impede the reconstruction efforts and the stability of the country.
KfW Development Bank has been involved in Afghanistan since 2002, implementing projects for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Foreign Office (AA). No other crisis country receives as much on behalf of the German Federal Government for development projects as Afghanistan: KfW's current portfolio amounts to EUR 1.3 billion, including EUR 1 billion from the Ministry (BMZ) and EUR 300 million from the Federal Foreign Office. The commitment of the German Federal Government is designed to create prospects so that the people can have a future in their own country.
In many countries, development cooperation is associated with risks for aid workers. In our dossier we describe where the dangers are.To the dossier
The numerous infrastructure projects are concentrated in the six northern provinces of Balkh, Samangan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan. For example, a hydropower plant was constructed in Fayzabad to provide energy for the provincial capital and the surrounding area. In the regions of Balkh and Samangan, transmission lines and substations were constructed as part of the NEPS programme to facilitate better supply of power to the districts and the two provincial capitals. "Electricity tangibly improves the living standards of the population; it helps people to set up small businesses and earn an income," says Andreas Schneider, who heads up the KfW Office in Kabul.
Read more under the picture gallery.
Development cooperation projects in dangerous countries
Poachers slaughter elephants in national parks, eat the meat and make a profit from the ivory. The population of wild animals like rhinoceroses, eastern lowland gorillas or okapis is dwindling, not least due to marauding rebel groups. There are repeated deadly attacks on park managers and rangers in the national parks. The photo on the left shows gamekeeper Erik Mararv, who was shot by elephant poachers. Three of his colleagues died. KfW supports the management of six nature conservation areas, in part, in cooperation with the WWF. “The projects are not just about helping to protect species. They are also about providing more safety and better working conditions for the rangers,” says Karin Derflinger from KfW. Better ranger training, equipment and measures for protecting the animals in their natural environment are supported.
Infrastructure facilitates trade and, with it, economic development. An example is the expansion of the national road network that connects the regions in the north and north-east of the country with each other, or the construction of the international airport Mazar-e Sharif. Young Afghans gain access to employment by means of vocational training projects, like the building and equipping of three vocational schools in Takhta Pul near Mazar-e Sharif.
Moreover, KfW Development Bank promotes water projects in Afghanistan, in the capital city of Kabul for example. Pumping stations and pipelines are being built to supply the residents of Kabul with drinking water. The investments funded by KfW also ensure a reliable water supply for the district towns in the northern provinces. "Women and girls no longer need to use dangerous roads to reach remote water points, only to collect water that is often contaminated with bacteria anyway," says Andreas Schneider. "This makes a significant contribution to better health and a higher quality of life."
When working on these projects, the experts in Afghanistan risk their own lives again and again. KfW staff, international advisors and local construction firms are exposed to constant danger in areas with critical security levels. "An attack can happen anywhere at any time and any day, and the risk of abduction is also very high," says Andreas Schneider. The security situation has deteriorated dramatically, and the number of attacks and suicide bombings has increased. This is only compounded by the fact that some areas are no longer under government control, which means certain project regions cannot be reached by road any more, according to the director of the KfW Office.
This article complements the picture gallery about development cooperation in the autumn/winter 2017 issue of CHANCEN "Mut".To German edition
This is why new technologies and methods are being applied to try and minimise the risk for local personnel as much as possible. "Thanks to 'remote monitoring apps' we can observe construction progress from afar, without someone constantly having to travel to the building sites in the risky areas," says Andreas Schneider.
Published on KfW Stories: Tuesday, 12 December 2017