PKONWEB Report (Islamabad) — In a first, China is giving grants also to Pakistan under the mega Pakistan China Economic Corridor aka China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Two major projects will be financed with Chinese grants: the new Gwadar international airport and countrywide social development projects recently identified by the newly installed government.
A team of Chinese experts is scheduled to visit Pakistan this week which is expected to announce an investment of over $1 billion as grant (aid) in various social sector development projects in different provinces of the country.
Wrapped in the next phase of the CPEC program, the whopping grant will be invested in education, health, agriculture, poverty reduction and human resources. The first phase of CPEC had seen Chinese investments mostly in the the power sector provincewide–15 energy projects with $19 billion loans and investments were taken up mostly as early harvest initiatives.
A network of roads and highways meant to connect Gwadar with China are also part of the first phase of CPEC which are underway.
According to sources, the Chinese experts will be evaluating a number of social sector projects being proposed by all the provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The ministry of Planning and Development, has already sought proposals from the provinces for the Chinese grant.
“The ministry has started receiving list of the projects from provinces, which will be discussed and evaluated by both the Chinese and local experts. The $1 billion investment will be a grant from China under the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” the sources said.
Other areas under phase 2 of CPEC include agriculture, medical treatment, water supply and vocational training projects.
During the next 5 years, small projects will be the focus of attention under the CPEC, which include renovation of schools, innovation in hospital system, model villages and supply of clean water for the public.
As CPEC progresses, Pakistan is looking to attract investment in agriculture and social sectors, diversifying away from the energy sector, in which China has already made substantial investment.
Meanwhile, construction work on the New Gwadar International Airport, one of the major projects in Gwadar under the CPEC, is expected to begin next month.
The strategic project is a $230 million investment, which will be a grant by the Chinese government to Pakistan. The contract of the new airport–the second biggest airport in the country, has been awarded to a Chinese state-owned company, which will work on the execution with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).