Economy & Infrastructure
The PRT Economic team supports local efforts in improving access to markets, increasing private sector investment, supporting the creation of value-added industry such as processing, and packaging facilities thereby adding value to farm produce and providing long term employment. The team are also helping farmers to adopt technical change, increase yields and produce higher value crops.
The Infrastructure team in the PRT supports the Afghan Government implement the Afghan National Development Strategy in Helmand Province through major road, energy and water projects. We also support the Helmand Governor with a programme of reconstruction and development at district and village level which helps to create longer term stability at the local level.
The PRT are improving access to markets through the provision of roads and regional transport links, delivering more affordable electricity, improving access to finance, providing vocational training and increasing support for small businesses. This is having a key impact on medium and long term stability in Helmand by delivering more sustainable jobs. So far over 115km of roads have been resurfaced, mainly in Lashkar Gah, as well as 20km of roads in District towns.
Work has started on the Nad-E Ali Spine Road and $2.3 million of improvements to Lashkar Gah, Shamalan, Darweshan and Nahr-e-Boghra Canals were carried out in 2010/11, improving irrigation for 10,000.
Over 4,000 loans, totalling over $3 million, have been allocated to small businesses across central Helmand, using DFID funding. The first national retail bank branch opened in Lashkar Gah in 2007. Two more have opened offices in the province since then.
Mercy Corps, a Helmand-based NGO supported by DFID, has built a brand new technical and vocational college providing vocational training for students aged 16-18. A female vocational training centre has also been established at the Girls High School in Lashkar Gah. Mercy Corps have trained 50,000 people in improved farming techniques.
Over 200 SMEs attended the recent DFID supported Afghan Business Conference series in January 2011, which has helped link up local business and the international community, and facilitated contracts worth over $15m.
From 2010-2013, the DFID-funded Helmand Growth Programme will help remove barriers to economic growth by improving roads, market access, electricity supplies, credit access, vocational training and support to local farmers and SMEs. Around 800,000 people will benefit from this £28 million investment.