With the help of foreign aid and strong governmental backing, Afghanistan’s power sector offers investors great opportunity.
In a live studio interview at Asian Utility Week, Mirwais Alami, Chief Commercial Officer, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the national electricity company of Afghanistan, assures foreign investors that the country’s power sector has much to offer.
Reducing Afghanistan’s reliance on energy imports
Afghanistan currently imports 80% of its energy from neighbouring countries but the aim is to reduce this reliance, he says. He points out that in the last four to five years the country has managed to improve its transmission losses and data management processes with the help of donors such as Phoenix IT Solutions Limited and USAID. This can only improve, he explains, especially since the government is working hard towards alleviating investor challenges.
Forward thinking utility attracts investment
In a separate interview, Siddhartha Mathur, Team Leader, Phoenix IT Solutions Limited, describes the advisory role that he plays in assisting DABS with business planning, organizational restructuring and capacity building. In addition to management consulting, Phoenix is also assisting DABS to improve energy efficiency levels and reduce transmission losses through the implementation of a significant metering plan.
Mr Mathur says that Phoenix is involved in Afghanistan because the country is changing for the better and more opportunities are being created as a result. Full governmental support has made this process easier, says Mr Marthur. He describes DABS as a forward thinking and vibrant utility. The utility is putting into place radical change which will transform the way power is viewed in the country within the next five to 10 years. He says that DABS is poised to get into the next development phase by modernizing its systems. A 10MW hybrid solar plant is in the process of being planned which will be awarded to an independent power producer during a bidding process due to take place within the next few months. It is hoped that the proposed hybrid solar power plant will boost investment.
Developing a self-sustainable country
Gregory S. Wang, Contracting /Agreement Officer, USAID, told Engerati that USAID is working to ensure that Afghanistan grows as a sustainable country and part of this is improving access to electricity, as well as generation levels especially in renewables.
He says that while many outsiders are concerned about the conflict in the country, the actual conditions on the ground are optimistic and the investment climate is “very good.” Laws and regulation are very much in favour of foreign investment. He says, “Electricity in Afghanistan is a big focus and our aim at the event is to attract more private investment into the country.”
Mr Wang advises investors to take a “hard look at Afghanistan’s potential” as there is significant business opportunity for those wanting to invest in the energy sector.