CPEC: Social Development and Regional Stability
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hs not only contributed to the socio-economic development of Pakistan, but the flagship project has also further strengthened the strategic partnership between the two countries through joint initiatives in diverse sectors of economy, investment, joint venture, agriculture, infrastructure development, energy, defence production and, above all, people-to-people contact.
Furthermore, it is evident that the flagship project has contributed to regional stability, security, socio economic and geo-political development in the country because economic stability and sustainability is directly correlated with political stability.
In this regard, phase-I of the flagship project has done a great job in transforming the energy outlook of the country initiating, implementing and completing numerous energy small, medium and mega projects in the country. This has contributed to substantially reducing the energy deficiency of the country.
Similarly, Phase 1 & Phase 2 of the project have significantly improved and modernized the transportation infrastructure of Pakistan which also led to the generation of new jobs for local people which has been effective means to eradicate poverty in the far flung areas in the country.
According to economic survey (2021-2022), Pakistani workforce, in a large number, were employed to numerous projects of the CPEC which ensured timely completion of the infrastructure projects and launched new projects such as Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M-6), Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway (M-14), KKH Alternative Route (Gilgit-Shandor-Chitral), Swat Expressway (Phase-II), Dir Expressway, and Karachi Circular Railways. This has brought prosperity to the construction and service industry of Pakistan.
The second phase of the project focuses upon the development of various sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, industrialization, textiles, logistics and last but not the least, the construction of industrial parks.
In this connection, rigorous mutual consultations, collaboration and coordination at the highest political, diplomatic, official, bureaucratic and last but not the least, ministerial levels have been geared up between the two brotherly countries for the further development of CPEC in the country.
Hopefully, the constant and paramount cooperation between Pakistan and China in related fields can drive Pakistan’s economic growth and there has been cooperation between the two countries for poverty reduction in Pakistan.
The industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China through complementary advantages will greatly promote Pakistan’s economic development and poverty reduction and bring remarkable economic and social benefits.
CPEC has also contributed to significantly improving the business environment of Pakistan by the construction of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
It has further helped Pakistan getting direct and indirect foreign investment, especially from the Middle Eastern countries along with that many Central Asian countries have also showed keen interest in joining the flagship project & the expansion of the CPEC, the project will surely benefit relevant countries and the people of Pakistan, China and other countries in the region.
Even most of the ASEAN countries have also shown great interest to participate in the ongoing projects of the CPEC, especially SEZs, infrastructural development, digitalization and health etc.
The CPEC has been contributing to Pakistan’s realization of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has already helped Pakistan achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) which is good omen for achieving the desired goals of social development, education, health, safe drinking water, empowerment of women, end to gender discrimination and, above all, poverty elimination and generation of new jobs in the country.
Developing countries like Pakistan are in need of financial assistance for the completion of sustainable development goals, CPEC has proven to be the best economic resource for Pakistan.
Pakistan has long faced the threat of terrorism which has led to reduce exports and foreign investment inflows, among other economic losses.
During this critical and most difficult period, it was China that stepped forward and proposed the CPEC to Pakistan and ready to invest more than US$65 billion in the different sectors, especially in the energy and infrastructural development in the country.
Obviously, the CPEC will help promote poverty alleviation in Pakistan and neighbouring countries and promote economic prosperity through regional connectivity with advanced and high-level infrastructure.
The priority of CPEC is to increase regional and world trade and accelerate foreign direct investment into Asia from around the world.
It is also evident that CPEC will also help Pakistan in achievement of the SDGs, the goals of the UN Agenda as they are directly, indirectly linked with the flagship project.
CPEC is the effective instrument for greater regional connectivity which may connect South Asia to Central Asia through Middle Corridor, Afghanistan.
In this context, most recently, the government of Pakistan, China and even Afghanistan thoroughly discussed different ways and means for the further strengthening of inflows of FDIs, joint ventures, trade & commerce and greater regional connectivity. All parties are in agreement to achieve these desired goals through the different projects of CPEC.
Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan trans-regional railway projects would be a game and fate changer for achieving the long awaited dreams of greater regional connectivity. Thus amalgamation of CPEC ML-I and trans-regional railway project is must.
The incumbent government has been striving hard to complete the pending projects of the CPEC as soon as possible.
Hopefully, early completion of CPEC Phase-I and initiation of CPEC Phase-II would further strengthen the bilateral trade between strategic partners. It would foster agriculture development in the country.