China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a mega economic project between Pakistan and China, and a fruit of their diplomatic ties of 1950. The project aims at connecting Kashgar (China) with Gwadar (Pakistan) through a network of highways, railways, natural gas, and oil pipelines. In a broader perspective, CPEC is a corridor envisaged by China in 2013 under its grand vision of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
Officially, CPEC was launched in April 2015 during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan. The project had an initial cost of around $46 billion and was later extended to $62 billion. By 2020, CPEC had a total value of more than $70 billion and experts believe that it may increase further in the future.
As part of CPEC, China has pledged to invest in the development of Gwadar port along with improving transportation infrastructure and meeting the energy needs of Pakistan. The total duration of the project is 15 years (2015-2030) and will be completed in four phases, namely:
- Early Harvest Projects (2015-2018)
- Short Term Projects (2018-2020)
- Medium Term Projects (2020-2025)
- Long Term Projects (2025-2030)
Presently, CPEC is almost done with its first phase of development that focused on Pakistan’s transportation and energy sectors. It will soon step into its second phase that will focus on the socio-economic development of Pakistan. The mega economic project has lucrative economic prospects for Pakistan and will prove to be a game-changer for the country’s economy.