Our work continues to be a vital support to Afghanistan in its efforts to ensure economic growth led by the private sector, establish a democratic and capable state governed by the rule of law, and provide basic services for its people.
Today, with USAID’s support, over 5.7 million students are enrolled in school – over five times more than in the Taliban era. Girls now comprise 35 percent of the total number of students enrolled, which is a higher percentage than at any time in Afghan history. Also with USAID’s assistance, approximately 80 percent of the population is within walking distance of a health care organization, contributing to a 22 percent drop in infant mortality. Afghanistan now has an internationally recognized currency. Now, there are more than 4 mobile phone companies with over 4 million subscribers.
When USAID arrived in 2002, there were only 50 kilometers of intact paved roads. To date, USAID has built or rehabilitated approximately 2,700 kilometers of roads, including 715 kilometers of the Ring Road, national highways, and provincial and rural roads. Construction and rehabilitation of the Ring Road has reduced travel time (by over 50 percent from Kabul to Kandahar and by approximately 45 percent from Kandahar to Herat). As over 60 percent of Afghans live within 50 kilometers of the Ring Road, the road is extremely important for trade, economic development, and education and health access.
Similarly, Afghanistan’s energy infrastructure was in dire shape; only about 6 percent of Afghans had access to reliable electricity in 2001. USAID is working to expand Afghans’ access to electricity by contributing to the construction and expansion of the North East Power System, which, when completed in mid-2009, will reach approximately 25 percent of the rural population. Energy projects, by their nature, take a long time; therefore, USAID is working on keeping the lights on in big cities like Kabul and Kandahar by procuring generators and helping to operate and maintain them.
USAID has over 20 personnel in 19 provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) across Afghanistan working on smaller projects with immediate local impact such as: community and government buildings, clinics, schools, capacity building for government, radio stations, gender activities, agriculture, water/irrigation projects, energy (micro-power) and roads projects. PRTs completed over 440 of these projects from 2003 to 2007.
2010-02-27 05:55:40 UTC