KARACHI: A photography exhibit showcasing the work done by the Agence Française De Developpment (AFD) in some of the countries it works in opened at the Alliance Française on Thursday.
While the French government-run AFD’s core focus is sub-Saharan Africa, it expanded to Pakistan in 2007 as a result of the pledges made by France as part of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) group, which comprises countries that support Pakistan through funding and development projects.
The striking images of work being done on a hydropower plant in Malakand Agency that dates to 1937, but was destroyed in a fire in 2006, is one example of AFD’s work. According to its director Nicholas Fornage, the development agency’s priorities in Pakistan are on renewable energy and energy efficient projects and it works with private enterprises and the Pakistani government on them.
Contrary to popular perception that the energy crisis in Pakistan is low on the government’s list of priorities, Fornage told The Express Tribune that isn’t the case. “It’s number one on their list. The Water and Power Development Authority is also focusing on this. They are pushing very seriously on a number of big projects like the Diamer-Bhasha Dam (in Gilgit Baltistan).” This commitment has also inspired interest from AFD to support the Munda Dam project in Mohmand Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Security for development agencies and their staff in Pakistan is a continuing concern, and AFD says it has been ensured security, such as from Wapda for the Malakand Agency project.
Fornage believes that Pakistan has a lot of potential to develop hydropower projects, as a way to work towards solving the energy crisis in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.
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