Pak, WB sign Khyber Pass Economic Corridor project pact

Last Updated 14 December 2019, 14:15 IST

Pakistan and the World Bank have signed a project agreement worth USD 406.6 million for financing the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (KPEC) project with an aim to promote economic development.

The signing ceremony was held on Friday at the Economic Affairs Division, Islamabad, The Express Tribune reported.

The project is aimed at constructing a 48km four-lane, dual carriageway, high-speed and access-controlled motorway from Peshawar to Torkham border point with Afghanistan in a bid to promote economic development and ensure uplift of the areas adjoining the expressway and falling in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The project envisages public-private partnership and private financing for developing clusters of economic activity, economic zones and expressways.

The connecting transport infrastructure and economic zones would provide a strong foundation for the private business to invest in these zones.

The global integration of South and Central Asia is intertwined with the Khyber Pass, which has served as the key node in trade for hundreds of years.

The expressway between Peshawar and Kabul through the Khyber Pass represents a section of Corridors 5 and 6 of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC).

Corridor 5, which runs through Pakistan, has the potential to provide the shortest link between the landlocked countries of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Arabian Sea. Corridor 6 provides access to Europe, the Middle East and Russia.

The KPEC will finance the Peshawar-Torkham expressway portion of the Corridor 5.

The Peshawar-Torkham expressway will reduce transit time and costs for regional and international trade, transiting the Khyber Pass and extend till Karachi-Lahore-Islamabad-Peshawar Trans-Pakistan Expressway system.

It will be developed as an integral part of the planned Peshawar-Kabul-Dushanbe motorway.

The improved regional connectivity through this corridor would not only facilitate commercial traffic and expand economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan but will also promote private-sector development along the corridor. It is expected to generate up to 100,000 new jobs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, according to the paper.

(Published 14 December 2019, 14:15 IST)

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