Support for reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan is the goal of a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant awarded today to the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industries. The US$1,200,000 grant will be used to partially fund a study that will facilitate the development of the cement industry in Afghanistan.
"Cement is one of the building blocks of the Afghan reconstruction effort, and this cement study, which will look at the rehabilitation of existing plants, as well as the establishment of a new plant, has the potential to make a significant contribution to those reconstruction efforts," said USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey at a signing ceremony held today at USTDA’s office in Arlington, Virginia.
"This USTDA grant will provide the Afghan government with the information needed to promote growth in the cement sector, revitalizing it and creating employment opportunities and hope for the Afghan people," added His Excellency Dip. Engineer Mir. M. Sediq, Minister of Mines and Industries.
USTDA Director Askey and Minister Sediq signed the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. and Afghan governments, respectively. Ms. Mariam Nawabi, Commercial and Trade Counsel at the Embassy of Afghanistan in the United States, and Mr. Daniel Stein, USTDA Regional Director for Europe and Eurasia, signed as witnesses to the grant agreement.
The Ministry of Mines and Industries has selected Box International Consulting, L.P. of Richardson, Texas to conduct the study. The company’s President, Mr. Tom Box, was present at today’s grant signing ceremony. In addition to the USTDA grant awarded today, Box International Consulting, L.P. will contribute additional resources toward the completion of the study.
Afghanistan’s capacity to produce cement is severely limited by a lack of production facilities. In fact, the country has the lowest cement production per capita in the world. Reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan would greatly benefit from an expansion of locally produced construction materials, such as cement. To support the development of Afghanistan’s production capacity in the cement industry, the USTDA-funded study will include an assessment of existing and half-built cement plants in Afghanistan, an analysis of plans to construct a new cement plant in Afghanistan, and the results of a cement market study.