Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Most recently, IMF published a report (April 25, 2020) indicating numerous severed socio-economic consequences of the ongoing human saga of COVID-19 on the national economies of more than 170 countries around the globe.
It has already traumatized the global economy, international financial system and last but not the least, settlement of payments mechanism. Mega projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have become hope of the last resort especially, for the sinking economy of Pakistan and hope for regional weakening economic growth in the days to come.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are projects of the 21st Century, inching towards achieving the highest levels of regional connectivity, socio-economic prosperity, energy and food security, reduction of poverty, generation of new jobs and above all agricultural revolution.
CPEC is a model of “sustainable development”. Government of Pakistan has rightly termed it a “blessing”. Being prominent regional expert of CPEC & BRI, I personally tout the CPEC as a gateway of progress, prosperity and connectivity and it is hoped that the bilateral ties between Pakistan and China will be further strengthened in the days to come.
CPEC is a game and fate changer not only for Pakistan but also for the whole region. But regional rivalry and international power politics has been trying its levels best to sabotage by launching a “hybrid war” against the CPEC and of course Pakistan since its inception.
CPEC is contributing 2.5% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan due to which the government of Pakistan has agreed over further expansion of the CPEC due to which its 2nd phase will be started very soon.
CPEC has become a success story within a period of five years. The work is progressing well on the building of Gwadar port and Thar coal power and mining project as well as other infrastructure development projects. It is hoped that CPEC will further improve Pakistan’s competitiveness internationally and link it with more countries than it is doing business with at present. That will create a huge space for foreign direct investment in the country’s export industries.
CPEC stands for pro-development, humanity and sustainability. It accelerates process of regional socio-economic integration and regional connectivity. During the current, weak regional and as well as global economic prospects, it would be “growth puller” in the days to come. It has already produced significant contribution in the GDP of its strategic partner, Pakistan in terms of generation of new jobs, inflows of foreign direct investments (FDIs), massive industrialization, energy security and last but not least, huge infrastructural development.
Now, existing world order mainly based on hegemony of the USA is once again under drastic change. It is hoped that new world order may be led by China because of its strong, stable and sustainable economic growth and might, huge diversification of resources and productive channels, unparallel regional connectivity in terms of China, One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI) more than 170 countries, CPEC, and last but not least, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), representing more than 65% of global GDP.
Moreover, according to “Fortune 500 global list”, there are more than 129 Chinese companies in the top 500 global companies, whereas it had only 8 in 1999 which showed its mammoth financial surge in the modern human history in a very short span of time.
On the other hand, China has also dominated in the sphere of banking too. In the latest list of top 10 largest banks of the world, four belong to China mainly: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Cooperation, Agricultural Bank of China and last but not the least, Bank of China Limited. It has been further strengthened in term of expected global dominance of its IPOs in the post COVID-19 world. So, future belongs to China.
The wide eruption of global epidemic COVID-19 has produced serious dints in the existing world order mainly based on economic & tariffs wars, socio-economic sanctions, economic protectionism and political exploitation through massive propagation of national narratives. Despite falsified media campaign of the US and the West and misuse of social media about its so-called poor national health system, China’s triumph over US President Trump rhetoric about alleged “Chinese virus” has achieved nothing but greater burden on its macro-economy due to which its human capital has been further compromised.
Even European Union (EU) is under great stress because of wild march of COVID-19 in its member states where people are dying like Siberian migratory birds in the hot deserts. Sooner or later, the EU is going to enter into new phase of political association, economic integration and, of course, military dimensions after the fall of the Berlin Wall. To the dismay of critics of BRI and CPEC, China’s effective control of pandemic has saved CPEC and it will enter into the second stage with a faster pace as both countries, the strategic partners are committed to its timely completion. China is further strengthening its “economic leveraging” “financial dominance” and “political clout” by galvanizing states to come to terms with its One Belt, One Road initiative (BRI) wherein, CPEC has significant role to play.
Chinese international strive towards COVID-19 pandemic has now won the “hearts and souls” of unlimited struggling people and communities alike. It has become “beacon of hope”, icon of mercy and sign of humanitarian assistance in the world. It has started new dimension of world economic system by initiating “economics of charity” by reaching out all the needy and poor countries through easy and smooth supplies of medical staff, stuff, doctors, nurses and consultations.
In the contemporary world, China is now viewed as a “emerging power” and “trust worthy” international partner which may either overturn the existing world order or establish a new world order in the future. As Napoleon said in 1803, “Let China sleep, for when the dragon awakes, she will shake the world. It seems that China has awakened and now sky is the limit.