U.S. Trade and Development Agency

1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1600 * Arlington, Virginia 22209

Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT:  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                         (703) 875-4357




KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – (August 30, 2005) The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) reaffirmed its support for Afghanistan’s reconstruction today with the award of three capacity-building technical assistance grants.  These include: a $564,748 grant to the Ministry of Commerce for technical assistance in establishing a standards regime; a $571,458 grant to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development for technical assistance in establishing a building codes regime in Afghanistan; and a $593,844 grant to Kabul University for a training/mentoring program for Afghan consulting engineers.


U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald E. Neumann signed the agreements conferring the grants on behalf of the U.S. Government.  Minister of Commerce Hedayat Amin Arsala, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Yusof Pashtun, and Chancellor of Kabul University Ashraf Ghani, respectively, signed on behalf of the Grantees.  Mr. Daniel D. Stein, USTDA Europe and Eurasia Regional Director, witnessed the signings.


“The common thread in these three projects is their important role in building Afghanistan’s human capacity, which will ultimately enable the country to sustain its economic and political development,” commented USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey.  “While USTDA has supported many infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, and will continue to do so in the future, we will increasingly look for ways to assist that country in developing its human resources.”


The USTDA-funded assistance provided by these grants will enable Afghanistan to develop a national standards organization, to institute and enforce construction codes, and to develop the expertise needed by Afghan engineers to play a larger role in the country’s reconstruction program.  Training of Afghan personnel is a key part of each project.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.