New project to build on successes in rural Afghanistan

UNOPS has signed a $40 million agreement with Sweden to continue our joint efforts in connecting rural Afghan communities to essential services and markets by road.

UNOPS and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have a long-standi​​ng partnership in northern Afghanistan, where we have been constructing and rehabilitating roads together sinc​e late 2007.

The latest four-year agreement will see the Rural Access Improvement Project enter its fourth phase from 1 November 2016, which will include a greater focus on capacity development and gender.

A road being built as part of the Rural Access Improvement Project​. Photo: UNOPS​

"We have seen higher numbers of students attending school, women using health centres more frequently and farmers taking their produce to market with greater ease, partly thanks to the roads we built with Sida over the past nine years," said Dr. Mohammad Haider Reza, Director and Representative of UNOPS Afghanistan.

"​Our main priority now is to ensure these benefits are sustainable by enhancing the capacity of the local communities, provincial road departments and the central ministries to maintain the infrastructure for years to come," added Mr. Bengt Ekman, Senior Programme Officer, who is Sida's responsible officer for the project.

The new phase will again target communities in Balkh, Jawzjan, Samangan and Sari Pul provinces, with a focus on poverty reduction, economic integration and supporting the Government of Afghanistan's efforts towards equitable growth. ​​​