What is CIP?


With urban growth reaching 4 percent annually, cities in Afghanistan face unprecedented infrastructure, economic, demographic, fiscal and environmental challenges. This growth has largely been unplanned, resulting in urban sprawl. Forty years of war has severely damaged the cities’ infrastructure and there has been little or no investment for maintenance and new construction.


Households lack basic services such as clean water, sanitation, mobility and connectivity to jobs and markets. The country’s urban system, consisting of the capital, regional hubs and transit centers as well as small towns, remains unable to provide substantial economic benefits.

CIP is working to invest in infrastructure and strengthen institutions in the Provincial Capital Cities (PCCs) to improve their sustainability and livability. CIP uses a Series of Projects (SOP) design. SOP I is currently being implemented over five years in Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Khost, and Mazar-e-Sharif. SOP II will be implemented for five additional years and provide financing for four additional cities. This approach enables gradual expansion in geographical scope and institutional performance over time.

The Project Development Objective (PDO) for SOP I is to rehabilitate municipal infrastructure and support COVID- 19 recovery efforts as well as introduce improved municipal finance and management systems. Infrastructure investment is critical as it brings visible near-term results that build trust in municipal management while institutional strengthening remains a long-term agenda. This dual focus on near-term results and on the long-term agenda and is an important element of support in Afghanistan.

The project’s most significant achievement to date is that dilapidated infrastructure in the target cities has not just been rebuilt, but built back better. As of April 2021, 40 km of roads have been completed. For the first time in Kandahar, bike lanes have been introduced, providing better and safer commuting for the poorest citizens, who tend to use bicycles. School children and workers are already using the bike lanes, acknowledging that this is the first time that they could formally claim a part of roads. Further, the project took an integrated approach to building back better. While roads have been rebuilt, improvements have also been made to drainage, sidewalks, greenery, and road safety measures. This model is being applied to the current upgrading of 100 km of roads in the target cities.

Beyond the financing and technical expertise brought by the Bank, a critical element has been strong local ownership of the process, from design and consultation to implementation. The designs were informed by extensive consultation with local communities. All the projects were awarded to local contractors employing local labor and, where possible, using local materials. This has also provided much-needed employment to skilled and unskilled workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total project cost is $35 million. The commitment is split evenly between the International Development Association (IDA) ($17.5 million) and the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) ($17.5 million), a multi-donor fund to which 18 donors are currently contributing. Completed schemes valued at $5 million have already been handed over to the municipalities and a strong pipeline of projects is under development or implementation.

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