United States Government and Aga Khan Foundation Open New Cross-Border Transmission Line

Representatives of the governments of the United States, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the Aga Khan Foundation at the launch

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, May 31, 2016 – Representatives of the governments of the United States, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and the Aga Khan Development Network<http://www.akdn.org/> met to commemorate the connection of two villages in Afghanistan to the electricity grid of Tajikistan’s Pamir Energy Open Joint Stock Company.  Nearly 100 members of the local community gathered to celebrate the occasion.

U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Leslie Hayden, and Pamir Energy General Director Daler Jumaev jointly threw a switch on the transmission pole from which power lines cross the border, marking the flow of electricity between the two countries.  Gorno-Badakhshon Autonomous Oblast First Deputy Governor Nourali Rioyev and Afghan First Secretary Abdulishoki Yakubi, along with other officials, also participated in the commemoration.

The villages were connected to the grid as part of the Cross-Border Energy in Shugnan District project, funded with a $1 million grant from USAID and a $464,000 matching contribution from the Aga Khan Foundation.  In addition to the newly connected villages, the project helped Pamir Energy upgrade its existing systems and infrastructure, laying the groundwork for further expansion and service improvement to customers on both sides of the Tajik-Afghan border.

Nearly 3,000 people in Dehsor and Wiriz, Afghanistan now have access to clean, cheap, renewable energy for the first time in their history.  Reliable electricity leads directly to improvements in quality of life:  incomes rise as businesses increase production and people are able to spend less money and effort gathering fuel for heat and light; educational outcomes improve as children have light to study by in the evening and during the dark winter months; and a reduction in indoor air pollution means sharp declines in the rate of lung and eye diseases.  In combination with investments in bridges, markets, and connecting roads, electricity will foster trade and economic development, demonstrating the true benefits of cross-border linkages between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.