Fund allocates RM114mil for Afghanistan


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003

BY SHAHANAAZ HABIB

KUALA LUMPUR: Stepping in to help less fortunate Muslim nations, the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development has allocated US$30mil (RM114mil) for infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. 

The fund’s media officer Tareq Ali Asshatti said it was now working out a feasibility study on which project to channel the funds. 

“We are taking Afghanistan as a serious country. It needs development. It needs roads, electricity, telecommunication, dams, bridges, water and sewage. It is a priority,” he said in a recent interview. 

The fund’s last project in Afghanistan was a US$30mil (RM114mil) sugar factory back in 1977 – two years before the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. 

Since then the Kuwaiti fund had not financed any projects there. 

In the 20 years of conflict and the October 2001 war on Afghanistan, the country’s infrastructure had been reduced to shambles.  

It has been estimated that it needs US$20bil (RM76bil) in the next five years to build its vital social and economic infrastructure. 

Tareq said the fund could have a spill-over effect in a particular area which would spur subsequent developments there. 

“In Malawi, a couple of years ago, we put up a telecommunication system in a particular area. When there were telephones, a factory came up. 

“This was followed by a hospital and then a market. 

“Although our telecommunications project was only US$10mil (RM38mil), it brought on more and more development. So we look out for real projects that will help the people,” he said. 

Since the fund was set up in 1961, it has worked on 429 projects worth a total of US$11.1bil (RM42.18bil). Of this, US$8.4bil (RM31.92bil) was in Muslim countries. 

Tareq said the fund did not look at colour, religion or region to disburse its funds.  

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