Asian Bank, UK to co-finance $327m in economic corridor

ISLAMABAD – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom will co-finance the $327 million cost of the 59 kilometres Hassanabdal-Havelian Expressway (E-35) project.

“Asian Bank and DFID are joining hands to promote regional connectivity, economic growth, and stability in Pakistan. Our partnership with DFID for the E-35 is an important step in this direction,” said Sean O’Sullivan, director general of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department who witnessed the signing of the agreement.

Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and DFID Pakistan head Richard Montgomery were also present on the occasion. The loan agreement was signed by ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan Werner E Liepach and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Muhammad Saleem Sethi.

The project agreement was signed by National Highway Authority Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar. The Asian Bank had earlier approved $327 million for the project in two tranches of $200 million and $127 million respectively under the multi tranche facility (MFF) for the National Trade Corridor Highway Investment Programme (NTCHIP).

This original investment was for the E35 expressway connecting the existing M1 at Hassanabdal (Burhan) to Havelian. The British grant contribution of $121.6 million will allow the Asian Bank to fund the extension of the expressway to Abottabad and Mansehra to the north.

“UK’s collaboration will support Pakistan to improve road safety and to create an environment that will transform roads into economic corridors. This partnership will not only help Pakistan promote and expand trade with regional partners, but also to create more jobs and sustainable livelihoods,” Montgomery said.

The upgrade to the E35 Expressway will allow Pakistan to act as a transit artery for goods moving between Arabian seaports in the south and China in the north. The expressway will enable safer, faster and more cost effective inter-regional transportation of goods and services spurring economic activity and opportunities for the people in towns and cities-along the route.

The Asian Bank, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, the bank’s assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including co-financing of $9.2 billion.

 

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