Sunrise Radio, the most popular Asian radio station in the UK, recently held an interview with the CEO of CPIC Zeeshaan Shah. Here are some snippets of what he had to say about the work being done at CPIC.
What is CPIC?
We are a leading real estate developer focused on opportunities within the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Specifically we have developments in Gwadar where we have total projects in excess of $500 million.
What is the One Belt One Road Initiative?
The One Belt One Road Initiative is the largest infrastructure project in the world right now where China is integrating more than 60 countries into its economy with a view to double its trade over the next 10 years. It is one of the largest international projects going on at the moment, if not the largest international project, and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is the flagship project of the One Belt One Road Initiative.
What is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?
In essence there are two phases to it – the first phase is upgrading Pakistan’s infrastructure in terms of energy, roads, and railways to bring it up to international standards which is almost halfway through now. The total cost of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is $62 billion – almost $20 billion has already been deployed which has been mostly focused on the infrastructure sector. The second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is integrating Pakistan into China’s economy through the development of special economic zones and industrial parks.
One of the big issues Pakistan had is the energy shortage issue which in principle has now been addressed. Now the amount of energy the country is generating after the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects have come online, including the power plant at Port Qasim, means that Pakistan officially has an energy surplus. What this means is the manufacturers and industries in Pakistan, who previously couldn’t compete with regional competitors such as India and Bangladesh because of the cost of electricity now have sufficient electricity at a cost effective price.
It has global coverage from The Financial Times to The Economist – the top leading global publications are talking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor on a weekly basis – it’s a huge initiative.
The best way to put it is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is not a gift to Pakistan from China, it’s an opportunity and it’s up to the Pakistanis how they capitalise on it. What we are doing at CPIC is supporting that growth.
How does Gwadar come into all of this?
One of the key initiatives within the China Pakistan Economic Corridor also known as the gateway city to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is Gwadar. The port is located very strategically at the opening of the Strait of Hormuz which is the world’s busiest oil shipping lane – over 85% of China’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz on a daily basis. China has bought the port from Pakistan for a period of 42 years. It has been declared a free zone, as you have in Dubai – the Jebel Ali free zone – where you can operate your business on a tax free basis. The first phase of the free zone was launched in January this year and is officially open – there are now more than 30 companies with factories and offices over there.
Are there any other entities involved bar Pakistan and China?
All the infrastructure being developed in Gwadar is being done by the Pakistani and Chinese government. However, there is a big role for private industries and private individuals to play – going and educating the whole world about the opportunities Pakistan presents and the opportunities Gwadar presents. CPIC is playing that role, hoping to be the catalyst that sparks a whole plethora of global investment into Gwadar.
How does the new Pakistani government affect CPEC?
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a fundamental part of Pakistan’s economic and foreign policy. The significant aspect is the new government has announced the development of Gwadar as their number one priority so it reassures us that we are in the right place at the right time.
Here is the interview in full: