Leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Thursday formally inaugurated the CASA-1000 electricity project, a key economic power transmission line which is expected to leverage economic ties between the four countries in the politically turbulent region.
In reference to the economic significance of the project, officials from the four countries have said the project is an important move toward stabilizing economic ties.
Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who represented Kabul in Kyrgyzstan has said that the role of donor institutions was key to change the dream into a reality in the near future.
“As we cooperate with each other for bringing light, we should also cooperate in removing the darkness,” Abdullah said.
The development takes place at a critical time as insurgency and security threats in the region still raise concerns over the security of the multimillion dollar project.
“CASA-1000 is a challenging project. Because four countries across two regions of the world have had to work together to make this happen, it is also being built in countries facing fragility and conflict. the economic gains from this project can contribute to peace and stability in the region,” World Bank’s Vice President for South Asia Annette Dixon said.
An Overview of CASA-1000 project:
• 500 kV AC line from Datka (in the Kyrgyz Republic) to Khudjand (477 kilometers away, in Tajikistan)
• 1300 megawatt AC-DC Convertor Station at Sangtuda (Tajikistan)
• 750 kilometer High Voltage DC line from Sangtuda to Kabul (Afghanistan) to Peshawar (Pakistan)
• 300 megawatt Convertor Station at Kabul (with import and export capability)
• 1300 megawatt DC-AC Convertor Station at Peshawar
The total length of the transmission line is estimated to be 750km, 16 percent of which will pass through Tajikistan, 562 kilometers which makes 75 percent through Afghanistan and nine percent through Pakistan.
“This project will provide a number of economic, social and economic benefits to the member countries and to erase energy deficits, create jobs and improve trade and business,” Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif said.
“The project is a start of extended economic cooperation for all of us and it is a historic move,” Tajik President Imam Ali Rahman said.
The total cost estimated for the project is around $1.17 billion USD. The transmission line will pass through Kunduz, Baghlan, Parwan, Kabul, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces. The money for the project will be shared between the four countries, however the World Bank will finance the share of Afghanistan.
The project comprises of three working phases and will be complete in 2018.
The project will benefit at least 152,000 families who live around the transmission lines.