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November 22, 2019

AIIB pledges $112 million for Karachi’s water, transport sectors

Business

November 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has committed $112 million of investment to improve water and transport services in the country’s industrial hub, Karachi, officials said on Thursday. The investment commitment includes $71.81 million for Karachi bus rapid transit (BRT) and $40 million to improve the city’s water and sewerage services.

AIIB Vice President Luky Eko Wuryanto and AIIB Chief Programming Officer Konstantin Limitovskiy led a delegation to attend the AIIB-Pakistan business forum. They also held a meeting with Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar.

AIIB’s spokesperson said the forum was an opportunity to engage various stakeholders in dialogue about the bank’s operations and opportunities for partnership and expanding its investment portfolio in the country. “AIIB’s most recent projects approved for Pakistan will help provide greater access to basic services for residents of Karachi.”

The bank said residents across Karachi would have greater access to basic services following recent investments by the AIIB to improve the city’s transport and water services.

The project would provide an efficient and sustainable public transport system in the country’s economic hub. The BRT project includes the construction of the Karachi red line BRT corridor and associated facilities, as well as the establishment of BRT operations. “An estimated 1.5 million people living within a one-kilometer radius from the BRT corridor and off-corridor services will directly benefit once the project is completed,” AIIB said in a statement. “The city’s air quality is also expected to improve, and greenhouse gas emissions reduced as passengers switch from private cars and motorcycles to the new BRT system.”

The latest investment in the megacity comes on the heels of a $40-million loan approved by the bank’s board of directors in October to improve water services in the city. The loan is geared toward upgrading the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s (KWSB) efficiency and sustainability. “Once fully operational, an estimated two million residents will benefit from better customer service and reduced water losses.” KWSB supplies 650 million gallons of water per day, which meets only around half of the city’s total needs. “Due to inadequate water availability, rationing and leakages are widespread,” the bank said.

Key components of the water and sewerage services improvement project include strengthening KWSB’s technical and managerial capacity and operational performance, rehabilitating existing infrastructure and supporting contract management.

The project would pay special attention to ensure women and children would benefit from the improved services.

AIIB’s total investment in the country has reached $512 million. The bank has approved four projects spanning key economic sectors in Pakistan. AIIB has also provided a special fund grant of $0.5 million for the preparation of the Lahore water and wastewater management project.

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