WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a game-changer and will link South Asia to world’s major trading hubs such as Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
Speaking at a function arranged by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington on Thursday night to highlight CPEC’s significance, the minister said the multi-billion project has already started to show positive impacts on Pakistan’s economy with GDP growth now at 5.3 percent, up from about 3 percent on average in 2013, and projected to be 6 percent in 2018.
The minister told the gathering, widely attended by foreign policy experts, members of Think Tanks, IMF, World Bank as well as Pakistani American community, that Pakistan has made a tremendous economic progress since 2013 and people should look at it beyond the lens of security. He said political stability has played an important role in achieving the goals.
CPEC will usher prosperity and progress not only in Pakistan but the entire region and there was a great scope for the extension of CPEC projects to other countries, the minister said, adding it would be beneficial to India also if it joined it.
Iqbal highlighted that major infrastructure projects related to CPEC are nearing completion within the timelines. Both China and Pakistan are keen to operationalize CPEC at the earliest so that it can stimulate the economy and bring about a meaningful change in the lives of the people, he added.
Earlier, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, in his opening remarks, said CPEC is a visionary initiative of the governments of China and Pakistan which has the potential of bringing economic benefits to both countries and the region for decades.
CPEC represents the transformation of a long-standing and time-tested strategic friendship of China and Pakistan from the political to the economic sphere. The people of both countries are excited by the opportunities that CPEC would present.
Dr Ehtesham Ahmed, a renowned economist and former senior World Bank / IMF official, while moderating the event remarked that CPEC is generating great interest around the world and implementation of this project was part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The success of CPEC would demonstrate that the Belt and Road Initiative could transform the economic future of the region, he added.