The World Bank on Friday inked an agreement with Pakistan for a loan of over $406 million to construct the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor Project.
Witnessed by Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar in Islamabad, the loan agreement aims to facilitate the construction of a 48km, 4-Lane, dual carriageway high-speed motorway connecting Peshawar to Torkham.
Under the proposed project, regional connectivity would improve by facilitating commercial traffic and economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan would be boosted. It would also promote private sector development along the corridor and is expected to generate up to 100,000 new jobs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The project envisages the use of public-private partnership and private financing to develop clusters of economic activity, economic zones and expressways. According to state-run Associated Press of Pakistan, the connecting transport infrastructure and economic zones will provide a strong foundation for private businesses to invest in these zones.
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 and Uzbekistan with the Arabian Sea.
Corridor 6 provides access to Europe, Middle East and Russia. Under KPEC, the Peshawar-Torkham expressway portion of Corridor 5 will be completed.
The Peshawar-Torkham expressway will also form an integral part of the planned Peshawar-Kabul-Dushanbe Motorway, APP added.
Azhar said the loan agreement indicated the World Bank’s resolve to support the development agenda of the incumbent government. World Bank Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovanwhile, at the signing, appreciated the reform initiatives of the PTI-led government, and committed to extend all possible facilitation and financial support to Islamabad in its efforts to promote economic activities in the country and to put the economy back on track.