The World Bank and Pakistan have signed a loan agreement worth $406.6 million for financing the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (KPEC) project.
Minister for Economic Affairs, Muhammad Hammad Azhar attended the signing ceremony of the financing and project agreements.
Secretary, Economic Affairs Division Dr. Syed Pervaiz Abbas signed the project’s loan agreement on behalf of the government of Pakistan and a representative of the National Highway Authority (NHA) signed the project agreement, while Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan inked the accords on behalf of World Bank.
The project aims to construct a 48 km long 4-Lane, dual carriageway high-speed access-controlled motorway, from Peshawar to Torkham. This project will promote economic development and uplift areas adjoining expressway in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project envisages the use of PPP and private financing to develop economic activity, economic zones, and expressways. The connecting transport infrastructure and economic zones will provide a strong foundation for private businesses to invest in.
The global integration of South and Central Asia is intertwined with the Khyber Pass and has served as a key node in trade for hundreds of years.
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, Uzbekistan, and the Arabian Sea. Corridor 6 provides access to Europe, the Middle East, and Russia. The KPEC will finance the Peshawar-Torkham expressway portion of Corridor-5.
The Peshawar-Torkham expressway will reduce transit time and costs for regional and international trade transiting the Khyber Pass and go from Karachi – Lahore – Islamabad – Peshawar for the Trans-Pakistan Expressway System.
It will form an integral part of the planned Peshawar – Kabul – Dushanbe Motorway.
The improved regional connectivity through this corridor will not only facilitate the commercial traffic and expand economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan but also promote private sector development along the corridor.
It is expected to generate up to 100,000 new jobs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Minister for Economic Affairs highlighted that the signing of the project indicated the resolve of the World Bank to support the development agenda of the present government.
The Country Director of World Bank, while appreciating the reform initiatives of the current government, committed to extending possible facilitation and financial support to the government in its efforts to promote economic activities in the country and to put the economy back on track.