China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a transformative and developmental infrastructure project running through the province of Baluchistan in Pakistan aims to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar port to China’s Western region. Besides other aspects of CPEC its impact on Baluchistan is improving its infrastructure. CPEC is a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at enhancing regional connectivity and fostering economic development.
This corridor is comprised of construction and development of railways, highways and Gwadar port. Therefore, such infrastructure initiatives results in not only facilitating transportation inside Baluchistan but also strengthening the connectivity of the province with other regions, hence promoting economic and trade activities. These developmental projects have made significant advancements in energy sector under CPEC power projects in Baluchistan. Moreover, construction of dams and developing renewable energy sources are included in Power projects. This further has contributed in addressing longstanding
electricity issues and shortages in Baluchistan. Resultantly, improving standard of lives of the local population and creating new opportunities for economic and industrial growth.
Furthermore, the construction of new highways, roads and energy projects plays major role in enhancing connectivity with major economic centers in Pakistan till central Asia and beyond. This development not only facilitates movement of people and goods but also opens up formerly isolated regions hence, promoting commerce and trade.
In Baluchistan, Gwadar port has appeared as a vital center for international trade after developmental projects started there under CPEC. Furthermore, Gwadar Port in Baluchistan Province serves as a hub for China’s political and commercial activities in the North Indian Ocean.
Additionally, Gwadar port is situated on the Arabian Sea’s shore at the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz close to the Persian Gulf. Gwadar port being world’s third biggest port further makes its location more important in the region for international trade. Moreover, Gwadar port fosters economic development and attracts foreign investments resulting in providing a gateway for trade of goods in the region. Resultantly, transformation is witnessed in economic landscape with increased business activities and job opportunities in Baluchistan.
Economic growth, educational opportunities and Job creation:
Additional to energy and infrastructure CPEC is also impacting in enhancing educational opportunities in Baluchistan. Educational opportunities includes establishment of educational institutions and vocational training centers. These institutions and centers help to equip local population with the skills required for participating in the growing job market.
Investments in CPEC projects in Baluchistan led to the creation of abundant jobs and enthused economic growth. An industry with development brings more opportunities in transportation networks, expanding services, employment of locals. While the projects under CPEC continue unfolding in Baluchistan, the potential of Pakistan emerging as a key player in economic landscape in the region increases.
Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s):
Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) designed under CPEC in Baluchistan envisions facilitations and incentives to businesses through offering tax breaks, streamlining regulations and supporting infrastructure to encourage foreign and local investments. Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) by establishment of industries and tapping into international and national markets benefits investors resultantly making Baluchistan an attractive destination for investment.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while bringing promising opportunities for development of Baluchistan it also has to manage challenges associated to it. Challenges like Security concerns needs to be addressed. Moreover, political instability, and requirement of inclusive development should also be dealt with appropriate strategy. Furthermore, for balancing economic growth along with addressing local concerns, environmental sustainability and ensuring equitable distribution of benefits is a vital challenge which needs a careful consideration. Hence, involving the government, private investors and local communities through collaborative approach would maximize the fruitful results and impact from the projects of CPEC in Baluchistan.
Under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Baluchistan, a resource-rich but economically underdeveloped province in Pakistan has played a pivotal role in the development. In Baluchistan, CPEC has brought transformative changes in various sectors, contributing to both social and economic progress. Initiatives of various projects under CPEC has marked significant step in moving towards addressing longstanding economic and infrastructure challenges in Baluchistan.
Baluchistan, being the largest province and having abundant natural resources in Pakistan holds significant importance is witnessing positive developmental indicators in various fields’ education, infrastructure, commerce and trade.
|By Dr. Zarmina Baloch, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar and Member Board of Experts, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad|