Afghan roads project gets $117 million boost

KABUL - UNOPS has just signed an agreement to provide advisory services to a large road maintenance and capacity development project in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP), under the umbrella of the National Rural Access Programme, is considered one of the highest priority programmes of the Government of Afghanistan.

Funded by the World Bank, the $117 million project will support rural communities in Afghanistan by providing all-season road access to core services and facilities, through the rehabilitation and maintenance of rural roads and bridges.

In August, UNOPS signed two management services agreements for the ARAP with its long-standing partners, the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

Under the agreement, UNOPS will serve as an advisory body, focusing on transferring knowledge and supporting the ministries in maintaining standards of quality in all key aspects of the project. These include fiduciary management, procurement and contract management, quality assurance and operations management.

This will help ensure the overall success of all three components of ARAP. The first component is the improvement and maintenance of secondary roads, to be implemented by the Ministry of Public Works. The main outputs will include the rehabilitation of 1,000km of roads, 250km of which will be paved with asphalt; the construction of 1,000 metres of bridges; and the routine maintenance of 1,000km of paved and unpaved roads.

The second component is the improvement and maintenance of tertiary roads to be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. This project will result in the rehabilitation of 1,300km of roads; routine maintenance of 2,000km of roads; and the construction of about 1,300 metres of bridges.

The third component is programme planning and development for institutional strengthening and programme coordination support. This will be jointly implemented by both ministries.

Ministry of Public Works Minister H.E. Najibullah Auodjan has expressed his gratitude to the World Bank for the provision of the grant aid and emphasized the need for close collaboration and maintaining a focus on quality and capacity development during implementation.