By Muhammad Luqman
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an $800 million investment plan that seeks to enhance regional trade and connectivity in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridors of Pakistan.
The multitranche financing facility will increase Pakistan’s regional connectivity and rehabilitate a total of 747 kilometres of Pakistan’s road along the CAREC corridor, the press release of ADB said.
Under the first portion of the investment plan ─ worth $180m and expected to be completed later this year ─ road networks in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be improved.
It added that the second and third tranches, worth $260m and $360m, respectively, are expected to be approved in 2019 and 2021.
“Pakistan’s unique geographic location — at the crossroads of Central Asia, the People’s Republic of China, and South Asia — provides a unique potential and opportunity for the country to become a regional transport and trade hub,” Dong-Soo Pyo, ADB’s Director, Transport and Communications Division, Central and West Asia Department said.
“The investment program will help the Government of Pakistan realize this potential, improving trade and connectivity in the CAREC corridors with the long-term goal of achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development in mind,” Pyo added.
The investment program will also focus on strengthening the capacity of the National Highway Authority to conduct due diligence work and ensure implementation of each portion of the project as designed.