Manila, Philippines (BBN)- Electricity will become available to a larger population of Afghanistan under a new Energy Sector Development Investment Program approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Investment Program, financed through a multitranche finance facility worth $570 million, will develop and rehabilitate power and energy facilities as well as support institutional capacity building of the power utility, the ADB said on Friday.

Projects financed through the facility include rehabilitating the distribution systems of Kunduz to Baghlan, constructing a new 220-kV transmission line from Kunduz to Taloqan, constructing small- and mini-hydropower plants in Badakhshan and Bamyan provinces, and rehabilitating gas fields in Sheberghan.

Afghanistan has one of the lowest electrification ratios and energy consumption rates in the world. Although nearly 80 per cent of energy consumption is in the form of electricity, only an estimated 9% of the population has access to intermittent public power supply.

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, through ADB, will co-finance $12 million for this Investment Program.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-28November08-9:32 PM (BST)