Situated in north-western Afghanistan between Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Balkh Province has a population of over 1.3 million people and is the country’s fourth largest province. The main language spoken is Dari, followed by Pashtu. With some 410,000 residents, the provincial capital Mazar-e Sharif serves as the economic centre for the country’s north.

Balkh has the second highest urbanisation rate of any Afghan province, a significantly greater proportion of its work income comes from the service and craft sectors, and it boasts an above average level of education. The airport in the provincial capital offers daily domestic and international flights and makes a positive contribution to Afghanistan’s economic development.

Despite considerable progress in the areas of infrastructure expansion, education, health care, and energy and water supply, and in terms of the associated economic growth, the province continues to face major challenges. There is a marked difference in living standards between the urban and rural populations. Natural disasters are commonplace in spring and autumn.

The German Cooperation with Afghanistan has been working in Balkh Province for many years. It runs programmes in a range of areas, including education, agricultural development, sustainable economic development, the rule of law, administrative reform, water and energy supply, and health care. The various programmes have helped to effect change and improve local people’s living conditions.

This section provides you with an overview of the German Cooperation with Afghanistan’s activities in Balkh.

Projects in Focus

An International Airport as a Transport Hub in the North In order to promote regional trade, improve transport conditions and safely manage increasing passenger numbers, the German Government is supporting the expansion of Mazar-e Sharif airport. This work will boost the development of the city of Mazar-e Sharif and the overall regional economic area around this transport hub. more
Strengthen sustainable economic growth in northern Afghanistan In order to stimulate sustainable economic growth, increase Afghan farmers’ yields and promote employment, the German Government is supporting economic programmes in Afghanistan’s northern regions. more
Clear Rules and Qualified Staff for a Clean Water Supply Access to drinking water and sustainable wastewater management depend most of all on qualified staff at the local level and on competent and efficient institutions. The German Government is therefore supporting Afghanistan’s efforts to establish the requisite legal and administrative structures and efficient management processes and to implement a strategic policy framework. more
Clean Water in Northern Afghanistan In order to upgrade the water supply system and improve the quality of drinking water in Afghanistan’s northern towns, the German Government is supporting the development of essential infrastructure. more
Improving Health Care Provision for the Afghan People In order to safeguard public health in areas outside the capital Kabul, the German Government is supporting the reconstruction of, and the provision of adequate medical equipment for, health centres across Afghanistan. Measures to eradicate wild poliovirus in Afghanistan – one of the three countries where it is still endemic (the others being Nigeria and Pakistan) – are also funded by the German Government. more
Energy as an Economic Factor – Creating a Legal Framework and Facilitating Investment In the long term, the German Government is assisting Afghan institutions and companies to increase the energy supply throughout the country and create investment incentives. As a result, all processes will in future be coordinated by Afghans themselves at both provincial and national level. more
Energy as a Driver of Development in Northern Afghanistan In Afghanistan, the electricity supply situation varies greatly between urban and rural regions. In order to ensure that Northern Afghanistan’s rural population also has secure access to energy, the German Government is supporting work to expand grid-based infrastructure. more
Renewable energy for Afghanistan In order to ensure that Afghanistan’s electricity supply operates sustainably and efficiently in the long term, the German Government is assisting Afghanistan with building decentralised electricity generation facilities based on renewable energy. more
Sport for Development in Afghanistan Sport at school? That is still unfamiliar to many students in Afghanistan. But sport makes a positive contribution to young people’s physical and intellectual development and builds motor skills. Therefore, the German Government is supporting the introduction of physical education as a subject in Afghanistan’s schools. more
Reforming the Education Sector – New Teaching Standards and Curricula In order to improve basic education, the German Government is working with the Government of Switzerland to support Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education with teacher training and to make learning content more diverse and accessible. more
Legal Certainty for all Citizens Since 2002, the German Government has been working with the Netherlands and Finland to assist Afghanistan with developing an effective justice system. While significant progress has already been made, there is still more work to be done to guarantee the rule of law for citizens in rural and urban areas alike. more
Transparently Planning and Implementing Development Measures In Afghanistan, responsibility for providing access to infrastructure and basic services rests with the provincial administrations. The German Government is assisting them to implement infrastructure measures in Northern Afghanistan, make processes more plannable and implement measures as effectively as possible on an independent basis. In this way, it is helping to promote socio-economic development among the Afghan population. more
Public Authorities as Pillars of Society In order to boost the Afghan citizens’ confidence in the public administration, the German Government is supporting the expansion of state structures and the provision of professional training to staff, especially in rural areas. more
Youth for Peace In order to drive the peaceful development of Afghan society and thereby create future prospects for the population, the German Government is assisting the Civil Peace Service with breaking the prevailing cycles of violence in Afghanistan. more
Integrated Experts in Afghanistan In order to improve the management skills of Afghan Government ministries, key institutions and administrative bodies, the German Government is assisting with the placement of integrated experts on the Afghan labour market. more

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