AIIB likely to finance $1.4b worth of projects in Pakistan

Considering investment in Karachi Bus Rapid Transit, Rawalpindi Ring Road projects

Haseeb Hanif February 01, 2019
The signboard of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is seen at its headquarter building in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) development projects worth $1.4 billion are in the pipeline in Pakistan. Work on projects amounting to $4 million is in progress while projects worth $1 billion are awaiting approval, said AIIB Head of Communications Laurel Ostfield.

The AIIB is considering investment in the Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, Rawalpindi’s Ring Road project, Lahore Waste Water Management project and Karachi Water and Sewerage Service project.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, she said the AIIB desired to launch even more development projects in Pakistan in the future. Currently, the AIIB is considering investing in the $100-million Karachi Bus Rapid Transit project.

Similarly, the Ring Road project in Rawalpindi worth $402 million is also under feasibility review while investment in the Lahore Waste Water Management project worth $400 million and Karachi Water and Sewerage Service project costing $160 million is also being reviewed.

Asia needs connectivity and investment from the private sector and the AIIB, for the first time, is presenting its report in Pakistan, she said.

“We are focusing on eight markets including Pakistan,” she said, adding the AIIB runs the projects on merit without any discrimination among member states. “No economy can develop without making investment in infrastructure,” Ostfield stated.

“We have experts for engineering and construction. Asia needs infrastructural improvements in roads and bridges among others.”

She said, “We are also looking into projects of renewable energy. Pakistan holds an immense potential in power produced from hydel sources. Pakistan incurs a higher cost on road construction.”

“We must have our focus on environment-friendly projects,” she said, recalling that the AIIB makes investments on merit after the bank’s credit assessment team reviews the position of debtors.

Developing countries should allocate at least 7% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to development projects, the AIIB communications head suggested.

She said strong infrastructure and cross-border mobility were among top priorities of the Asian infrastructure bank. 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2019.

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