The Louis Berger Group served as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) implementing partner for the Rehabilitation of Economic Facilities and Services (REFS) program that ran from 2002 to 2007. For USAID, LBG managed the design and construction of more than 1,500 kilometers of primary, secondary, and urban roads; upgrades to the Kajakai Dam hydropower plant; construction of 93 seismic-IV school and clinic buildings; and the upgrade and repair of five major dam and irrigation systems—all throughout Afghanistan. LBG also completed numerous technical, planning andeconomic studies, and environmental assessments. Capacity building was a key component of the REFS program, and approximately 75% of LBG’s program staff was comprised of local Afghans.
Eighty percent of the Afghan economy is based on agriculture, and irrigation is the key to its success. As part of the USAID agricultural economic revitalization plan, LBG studied several high-profile infrastructure rehabilitation projects; with USAID and the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), we identified and evaluated projects that would produce large benefits at effective costs. Using this process as a selection tool with criteria rankings, LBG successfully implemented five high-profile regional infrastructure rehabilitation projects: the Sar-e-haus Dam in Faryab Province, Zana Khan Dam in Ghazni Province, Sardeh Irrigation System in Ghazni, Mohammed Agha and Mogul Khil Irrigation rehab in Logar Province, and Shah Rawan Intake in Kunduz Province. LBG also performed a number of water and irrigation concept and feasibility studies. The program provided irrigation to 101,780 hectares of land and benefited an estimated 61,000 families. LBG also successfully employed primarily local Afghan firms, and the Deputy Program Manager was a local Afghan who is now serving as the Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection.