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2 Mar, 2020 14:31

Pakistan aims to create Singapore-style economic miracle with new seaport connecting to China's Belt & Road

Pakistan aims to create Singapore-style economic miracle with new seaport connecting to China's Belt & Road

Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port, part of the ambitious $61 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, has finally been given the green light for development.

Under plans by the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), the population of the city of Gwadar is expected to increase to two million people by 2050, up from the current 85,000. The Gwadar Smart Port City, which will cover approximately 1,200 square kilometers, will have seven ecological corridors, 11 urban functional zones and a special economic district to attract foreign capital.

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While meeting with a group of developers, the GDA’s Director General Shahzeb Khan Kakar said that Gwadar is the future "Singapore of Pakistan."

The per capita income of Gwadar residents is projected to reach $15,000 (an increase of nearly 10 times the current national average) and its economy expected to surpass $30 billion by 2050. According to the News newspaper, Gwadar Smart Port City will become Pakistan's third-largest city and create 1.2 million jobs.

Currently, Gwadar relies on supply of electricity from Iran, while a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant planned under the CPEC project is two years away from being functional.

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The ambitious project requires massive investment, needing more than 100 billion Pakistani rupees (around $650 million) for basic infrastructure alone.

"This investment will have to be spent before international companies will be persuaded to locate their businesses there," said Katharine Adeney, a professor and director of the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute. "In the current economic climate, this may be controversial,” she told the Nikkei Asian Review.

The strategically important port of Gwadar is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea opposite Oman. On the other end of the gulf is the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery. The recent spats around the chokepoint have further highlighted Gwadar Port’s high importance.

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