November 28, 2017
On November 27, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kabul to provide grant aid of up to 1.033 billion yen for the Project for Livelihood Improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-Border Areas (Phase 2).
The project will provide support for building local government capacity, providing basic infrastructure and promoting economic activities in 12 provinces and districts along Tajik-Afghan border areas to contribute to livelihood improvements in the border areas of both countries.
The target areas of the project have the potential for social development and economic growth as trade centers with their cross-border geographical characteristics. However, Afghanistan still has many reconstruction challenges, particularly in rural areas, caused by conflicts and other issues, and Tajikistan also faces the challenge of large geographical economic discrepancies. The basic socioeconomic infrastructure is also inadequate, particularly schools, and health and irrigation facilities, and job opportunities and economic activities are limited, imposing strict living conditions on local residents.
JICA has been implementing the Project for Livelihood Improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-border Areas for three years since March 2014, to rehabilitate basic social infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, irrigation and water supply facilities and small-scale hydroelectric plants, and to build the capacity of local governments to better provide public services. The project also trains farmers and entrepreneurs, and provides occupational training opportunities to socially vulnerable groups such as the handicapped and women. Through such efforts, the project has contributed to an increase in the income of residents in the target areas and expanded employment opportunities. These measures are stimulating economic activities in the areas centering around newly established cross-border markets and more entrepreneurs are undertaking small-scale businesses, such as handicraft and agricultural production.
Building on the experiences of that cooperation, the present project will provide basic infrastructure, including schools, and health and irrigation facilities that are still underdeveloped in the cross-border areas, stimulate the local economy using local resources and products, and foster business-related human resource development such as entrepreneurs. Through these efforts, it is hoped that the standard of living of approximately 1.9 million people living in Afghanistan and Tajikistan will be improved, while economic trade is stimulated, contributing to stability in the area.