CPEC for local residents – News – The Nation
China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners. The two countries have forged a rock-solid friendship. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project of the co-construction of the “Belt and Road Initiative” by China and Pakistan, and an important manifestation of the ever-growing “iron friendship” between the two countries.
The CPEC spans more than 3000 kilometers, it is a link, connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt in the north and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in the south. While building a bridge for economic and trade exchanges between China and Pakistan, CPEC constantly enriches the connotation of a China-Pakistan community with a shared future.
In 2013, CPEC was officially proposed and positioned as an “integrated four-sphere” channel and trade corridor covering roads, railways, oil and gas pipelines, and fiber optic cables; in 2015, the “1+4” cooperation scheme was formed with the construction of the corridor as the center, with emphasis on Gwadar port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation. In December 2017, the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Vision Plan (2017-2030)” was officially released, combining China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and Pakistan’s “Vision 2025”. In December 2017, the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Vision (2030)” was officially released, joining China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and Pakistan’s “2025 Vision”, with a focus on development in areas such as connectivity, energy, trade and industry. parks.
The construction of the CPEC bears fruit
Since the beginning of its construction in 2013, CPEC has created one miracle after another: China-Pakistan cross-border optical cable, Karakoram highway upgrading and reconstruction project, Karot hydropower plant, Orange line project Lahore Rail Transit Station, second leg of the dam cut. off carried out at Sugejinaree Hydroelectric Project, etc.
As of September 2021, the 22 priority projects of the first phase of CPEC are almost completed, half of which are energy projects. For example, the Port Qasim coal-fired power station, since its commercial commissioning in April 2018, has generated about 10% of Pakistan’s national grid power supply. It is reported that the coal-fired power plant will exceed 4.6 billion kWh in 2021.
While accelerating its construction as a power supply base, CPEC also attaches great importance to the development of clean energy. In November 2021, Karot Hydropower Station, the first hydropower investment project under CPEC, successfully completed the closure of its diversion tunnel and officially started storing water in the reservoir, throwing the bases for the commissioning of the following generators. It is reported that the construction of Karot hydropower station and Sugijinari hydropower station are progressing smoothly, and the construction of Kohala hydropower project will also start after the signing of the franchise agreement in May 2021.
During the first phase of construction, China and Pakistan not only committed to solving power shortage problems, but also focused on infrastructure construction. There are many flagship projects, including Gwadar Port, Lahore Orange Rail Transport Line Project, Phase II of Karakoram Highway Upgrading and Reconstruction Project, China-Pakistan Cross-Border Optical Cable Project , etc. These mass transport infrastructure constructions are of great importance to the economy of Pakistan. development. Thanks to the highways and energy infrastructure, an increasing number of Chinese companies have come to invest in Pakistan, effectively promoting the country’s economic development and at the same time laying a solid foundation for industrial cooperation in the second phase of the corridor.
Under CPEC, China and Pakistan have greatly facilitated cross-regional connectivity through the construction of various infrastructure.
Taking the example of the port of Gwadar in Balochistan, it is not only one of the four key points of the China-Pakistan economic corridor, but also a pilot project for the co-construction of the “Belt and Road Initiative between China and Pakistan. In November 2016, the port of Gwadar was officially opened, and from there the first Chinese commercial ships set sail. From its humble beginnings as a small fishing village, over years of development, Gwadar Port has gradually transformed into a regional logistics hub.
Even during the epidemic period, the construction of Gwadar Port continued to advance. It is worth mentioning that Gwadar Port has also created many “firsts” in 2020: for example, the launch of transit trade through Afghanistan, fully showing its transhipment potentials; for the first time, 10,000 tons of LPG are expected to be shipped to Pakistan each month through the port of Gwadar; and this is the first time that a commercial operation has been carried out.
In July 2020, a medium-sized cargo ship loaded with 16,000 tons of chemical fertilizer docked at Gwadar Port for the first time and completed the unloading, warehousing and storage of all cargo, marking the launch official of Afghanistan’s re-export activity. . It also shows that CPEC can be extended to Afghanistan and further to Central Asia. Now, Afghanistan and the landlocked countries of Central Asia have a communicating access channel. Building on the location advantage and connectivity of Gwadar Port, in July 2020, a series of industrial projects such as Gwadar Fertilizer Plant, Gwadar Exhibition Center and Gwadar Plant Gwadar Lube Oil Company have also started construction in Gwadar Port Free Zone. Bajwa, who once served as chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Affairs Office, said, “The construction of Gwadar Port also has radiant benefits for the development and prosperity of Balochistan and other surrounding regions.
continue to benefit
The changes induced by the construction of the CPEC are noticeable. According to a 2012 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the electricity shortage resulted in an average annual loss of $13.5 billion in Pakistan’s GDP. The electricity shortage has led to chronic power shortages in Pakistan, with power cuts in all parts of the country ranging from around 10 hours a day in major cities to 22 hours a day in rural areas, with an average national electricity shortage of 4,000 megawatts.
The local impact of CPEC on Pakistan is also largely reflected in the revival of local employment. CPEC’s infrastructure projects have created nearly 50,000 jobs.
According to incomplete statistics from the Planning Commission of Pakistan, the early harvest projects of the first phase of CPEC have created about 38,000 jobs, of which more than 75% are local jobs, with energy projects creating the most jobs, absorbing 16,000 Pakistani workers. and engineers altogether. In addition, the construction of transport infrastructure has created approximately 13,000 jobs.
Chinese enterprises also actively assume their social responsibility when carrying out construction projects. In order to enable Gwadar Faqeer Middle School to accept more students, the school expansion project was funded by the China Peace Development Foundation and constructed by CCCC (China Communications Construction Company) Fourth Institute of Naval Survey and Design, which was completed and delivered in June 2020.
From 2021, the CPEC smoothly entered its second phase of construction. Development priorities are also gradually shifting towards the industrial sector and expanding agricultural cooperation between the two countries. Pakistan is an agricultural country with a population of 220 million and well located, so it is reasonable that the second phase of CPEC construction should focus on industrial cooperation, with a layout that focuses on sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and textiles.
Thanks to the joint efforts of China and Pakistan, CPEC constructions continue to reach new levels. China and Pakistan are willing to work together to build CPEC with the aim of improving standards, sustainability and people’s livelihood benefits, and accelerating the building of a China community with a shared future. -Pakistani closer in the new era.
Qaiser Nawab is a strategic communications expert with nearly 10 years of experience as an advocate for social change. He is a freelance journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]