AIIB to invest in Pakistan infrastructure

The China-led organisation has expressed interest in financing Pakistani infrastructure projects, joining other multilateral development banks.

Jin Liqun, president-designate of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), has expressed interest in financing infrastructure projects in the energy, transport, sea port and urban development sectors in Pakistan.

Jin believes the country offers great potential for investment in infrastructure projects that could pave the way for sustainable economic development, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

“The bank is looking forward for closer cooperation with the country's public and private sector,” he said, adding that the bank's officials will be visiting Pakistan very soon to discuss collaboration in different projects.

The bank said it will be working closely with existing multilateral development lenders such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and others.

ADB is currently one of Pakistan’s largest development partners, having provided more than $25 billion in loans, and more than $200 million in grants, as of December 31, 2014. The funding has included 316 loans to improve Pakistan’s infrastructure and services and to support reforms.

Last week, ADB approved a loan of over $197 million to rehabilitate 328 kilometres of provincial highways and assist authorities in developing a master plan to better manage current and future road traffic in Sindh.

As the country’s second-largest province, Sindh has a population of 42 million and generates a third of national GDP. Fostering regional economic development, the project will reconstruct, upgrade and widen key sections of the provincial highway network with aims to improve road conditions and connect rural areas to regional centres.

At the same time, it will help provincial government develop a master plan to identify strengths and weaknesses, investment priorities, and opportunities for private sector investment in Sindh’s provincial road network over the next decade.

The World Bank’s portfolio in Pakistan consisted of 21 active projects with a total commitment of $4.4 billion as of February 28, 2015. For the next few years, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), its private investment arm, is expected to invest about $500 million per year in areas including infrastructure, especially renewable power, trade finance, financial markets, agribusiness, manufacturing, and services.