Remarks By H.E. Shaida Mohammad Abdali

at SAARC Seminar,

26-27 September

 

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished Participants and Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to be here amongst our friends to discuss an issue of tremendous importance for all of us.  And I would like to take the opportunity to thank the SAARC secretariat and the government of India for convening this important session.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Energy shortage in our region remains unsolved and is gradually becoming a burning issue for all of us. While the fast-paced globalization era requires more and more energy, this region still lags behind due to the shortage of this basic, nevertheless vital necessity.

Large segments of the regional countries’ populations suffer from the lack of access to power.

Energy as the vehicle to the aspiration of global village runs short to connect the economies of the region.  Regional integration remains a dream.

India and Pakistan dominate about 93 percent of the generation capacity in south Asia.  However, India is capable of providing access to power for only about half of its population with Pakistan just above half of the country’s population.

If I take my own country as another example, Afghanistan’s need for electricity is 5000 MW, the power generation capacity of the country is only 152MW.   With 830 MW that Afghanistan imports it can cater for the need of only 40% of the country’s population.  The rural inhabitants of our counties remain deprived of this essential utility, while their contribution to the socio-economic development of the region can be significant.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We recognize the fact that we live in a region that has vast potential for development.  Central Asia’s economy, which largely depends on the region’s energy resources, faces slow growth.

Studies suggest that creating market efficiency and a competitive energy sector in Central Asia largely remains a legislative issue resulting in limited room for growth and confining the growth to the national borders.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What we must recognize as the causes of this shortage are instability and conflicts in the region which have been greatly contributory to the shortage we experience today.

Afghanistan once known as the hub of the Silk Route, played a significant role in connecting the economies of the region and beyond.

The 30 years of destruction not only severely damaged the infrastructures in place but also led to a missing linkage in the region which Afghanistan could address and serve as to the best of its potential.

As Afghanistan left the dark era of the Taliban regime behind and resumed its journey toward achieving stability and sustainable economic growth, the interim administration of the country took the strongest possible steps to lay the foundation for regional cooperation.

The Kabul Good Neighbourly Relations conference in 2002 is a testimony of Afghanistan’s will for and commitment to restoring confidence in the region and serving as a bridge between the energy rich central Asia and energy deficit south Asia.

We have been pursuing the objectives at all regional and international fora. The quadrilateral project of CASA 1000 while moving at a slow pace, due to the reasons some of which I covered earlier, is the product of the regional cooperation.

In line with our cross-cutting theme of regional cooperation in the area of energy connectivity, Afghanistan’s bilateral power cooperation includes the North East Power System (NEPS), interconnecting Afghanistan with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  The transmission system already in place connects the northern part of Afghanistan with the country’s capital Kabul.

Our bilateral cooperation in the area also includes power supply by Iran and Turkmenistan covering Afghanistan’s western province of Herat and some northwestern parts of the country.

Serving as a land-bridge we are desirous of extending these transmission lines across to South Asia.

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan and the south Asian countries run short on this essential utility while the surveys conducted show that Afghanistan’s potential for hydropower is twenty three thousand (23000) MW.

This means Afghanistan is not only capable of serving as a bridge but also potentially as source of energy which meets the need of the region.

While environmental issues become a source of global concern the findings of the studies in Afghanistan suggest that the country has a high potential of renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind, biomass and geothermal.   For the potentials to be utilized by the countries in the region there is need for concerted regional effort.

To touch on the topic of the two day seminar, namely the role of private sector in energy security: The government of Afghanistan has encouraged and created the environment for private investments in all sectors.

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) is an independent and autonomous company which was established on May 4th 2008 under The Corporations and Limited Liabilities Law of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  I am pleased to inform you ladies and gentlemen that Mr. Razique Samadi, the Chief Executive Officer of the company is here with us, who will brief us on the activities of the company, generation capacity of the country and future projects in the sector.

In short, DABS operates and manages electric power generation, import, transmission, and distribution throughout Afghanistan on a commercial basis.

To conclude my remarks, I would like to reiterate that Afghanistan stands ready to utilize its potentials both in geography and resources to the benefit of our region.  Afghanistan is ready to sustain and serve as an energy pool within the SAARC framework and cooperate with the region in utilizing the untapped energy potentials.  To secure the future of our young generation let us work closely to secure energy in our region.

 

Thank You

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