ADB approves $800 mln to improve connectivity, trade in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 26 (APP): Asian Development Bank’s (ADB)
Board of Directors has approved a $800 million multitranche
financing facility (MFF) to help enhance regional connectivity and
trade in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC)
corridors in Pakistan.
The investment programme will expand Pakistan’s regional
connectivity links while helping to improve road traffic efficiency,
according to a statement issued by the bank here on Tuesday.
Road networks in Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be
rehabilitated and upgraded with the MFF’s first tranche, worth $180
million in 2017. The second and third tranches, worth $260 million
and $360 million, 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,” said Dong-Soo Pyo, ADB’s
Director, Transport and Communications Division, Central and West
Asia Department.
“The investment programme will help the government of Pakistan
to 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.”
Pakistan’s trade has been centered on sea traffic while
transit trade through the country remains limited as poor and costly
transport and cross-border infrastructure and services hinder the
realization of this untapped potential.
Upgrading the country’s current 263,000 kilometers (km) of
road while ensuring transport safety will be critical to the
country’s export competitiveness as well as overall economic growth.
The MFF will upgrade and rehabilitate a total of 747 km of
road along the CAREC corridor. The investment programme will also
focus on strengthening the capacity of the National Highway
Authority to conduct due diligence work for subsequent tranches as
well as to implement each tranche project under the MFF as designed.