Tuesday, April 16, 2024

World Bank to restart Afghanistan’s CASA-1000 project

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmatihttps://www.khaama.com
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

The World Bank has decided to resume the CASA-1000 project in Afghanistan. Concerns have arisen among participating nations like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan about the possibility of losing $1 billion in stranded assets.

Despite the apprehensions, the World Bank assured that the resumption of CASA-1000 would occur within a ring-fenced structure. This mechanism ensures that all construction payments and future revenue are managed outside Afghanistan and do not involve the current Taliban government.

Integral to this ring-fenced approach is a commitment to employing international consultants to oversee project progress. Furthermore, third-party monitoring will be implemented to verify advancements and certify contractor invoices, ensuring transparency and accountability.

The CASA-1000 project, with a budget of $1.2 billion, aims to connect the power grids of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It facilitates the export of hydropower-generated electricity from Central Asian states to Afghanistan and Pakistan via Afghanistan.

Originally approved by the World Bank in 2014, the project faced a halt in Afghanistan following the resurgence of the Taliban regime. Despite this pause, construction activities in Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Pakistan progressed, nearing completion in these countries.

The World Bank’s proposed resumption will unfold in two phases: a three-year construction phase followed by operational activities. Payments during construction will be directed to offshore accounts of international contractors and consultants, overseen by an independent monitoring agency.

For the operational phase, arrangements with Offshore Account Bank (Abu Dhabi) will ensure that payments and revenue remain offshore, aligning with contractual agreements. This includes purchasing electricity from Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic as stipulated in the CASA-1000 and other power purchase agreements.

Despite the World Bank’s plans, the de facto authorities in Kabul emphasize that projects within Afghanistan must receive their acknowledgement and consider the country’s conditions. Taliban senior spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, expressed readiness for cooperation, highlighting existing security and facilities within Afghanistan.

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