China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
Written by Jarom Drummond
As China’s economic growth slows, it is taking drastic steps to correct its trajectory. China is just a few steps into what is becoming a massive investment program called the Belt and Road initiative that will include over four trillion dollars in investment over the course of three decades throughout many countries across the Eurasia region. It is, in many ways, an attempt to economically link the region together in order to ensure China’s economic future– the project will create an infrastructure which China and Chinese companies can use to trade and invest across Europe and Asia. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a regional capstone of sorts for the project. It is China’s massive investment into Pakistan. The details of how this investment is carried out could be the determining factor of Pakistan’s economic future and stability, though corruption poses serious concerns in its procession.
China’s investment in Pakistan, as outlined in the latest CPEC in January, amounts to $62 billion USD. It includes a series of projects including power plants, railways, highways, and port infrastructure (Ministry of Planning). It also includes educational and medical ventures. The jewel of the project is the Pakistani Arabian Sea port city Gwadar. China and Pakistan jointly hope that the city will become a thriving port city in the coming years and aid oil trade and act as a competitor to ports like Lahore, Jebel Ali, and Chabahar (Rafiq). After many decades of failed investments, China’s aid could prove to critically develop the region and bring much needed financial stability to the Balochistan state in Pakistan, which is largely barren and arid with little infrastructure or labor, though rich in natural resources. The added educational and vocational opportunities may well prove to add greatly to the region’s economic development and the nation’s growth as the port becomes functioning and Pakistan is able to tap into the vast natural resources in the region.
Further investments include large highway systems across the Punjab state, which have become an issue of dispute in Pakistan as Baloch officials accuse Punjabi officials of using political clout to ensure that it receives more than its allotted share of the $62 billion invested by China (Rafiq). Some sources claim that only 3% of the investment will actually be used for developing infrastructure in Balochistan, though that is one of the main purposes of the project (Correspondent). From a purely trade standpoint, sea trade is most often more economically efficient than land trade, and so accusations of corruption seem to be fairly well founded as Punjab is granted a six lane highway that composes the most expensive roadway project in all of CPEC (Rafiq).
From some points, CPEC seems to be disorganized. The Pakistani Government’s website on CPEC is inconsistent and difficult to navigate, with costs alternately listed in rupees and dollars, and information labeled without much pattern or sense. Information on each project is scarce and nearly uninterpretable. One could even deduce that it seems as though they are attempting to cover something up. And to be sure, there has been a fair bit of confusion surrounding the project. Pakistani officials have accused Chinese construction and contracting companies of corruption (CPEC Allegations). Pakistan also neglected to inform China that Saudi Arabia invested considerably in the project in the Gwadar port in which China has invested so much in (Hussain).
Not everything is going smoothly in this massive investment scheme, nor did most expect it to. Pakistan is working out massive economic decisions for themselves and attempting to prove to the world that they are strong enough to act. It has already proved to a great degree that it is willing to act and protect its assets with a 15,000 soldier army that has been mobilized to ensure the success and uninterruption of the building process (Rafiq). Hopefully Pakistan will be able to use this momentum, along with the added economic growth from CPEC in the coming years and do more to address other pressing issues such as terrorism within the country.
China’s massive investment feels almost counter intuitive as graft and corruption continue to cut into its efficiency. There is no doubt that Pakistan is in dire need of both the infrastructure and economic investment. If Pakistan carries out the following decade with prudence and protects China’s investment carefully this could be an economic turning point for the country.
fascinating points, though you might try finding a way to break up the sentence so you do not have multiple sources sprinkled in the sentence. They distract from the information given.