RESIDENTS across Karachi will have greater access to basic services following recent investments by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to improve the city’s transport and water services.
AIIB’s President Jin Liqun approved a US$71.81 million loan for a project that will provide an efficient and sustainable public transport system in Pakistan’s economic hub. The Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (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. 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.
AIIB’s latest investment in the megacity comes on the heels of a US$40 million loan approved by its board of directors in October to improve Karachi’s water services, bringing the bank’s overall financial commitment to Pakistan to US$512 million.
This 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 provides Karachi 650 million gallons of water per day, only about half of the city’s total needs. Due to inadequate water availability, rationing and leakages are widespread.
Key components of the Karachi 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 will pay special attention to ensure women and children will benefit from the improved services.
Since AIIB began operations in 2016, four projects spanning key economic sectors have been approved in Pakistan. AIIB has also provided a Special Fund grant of US$0.5 million for the preparation of the Lahore Water and Wastewater Management project.
“AIIB has a steadily growing investment portfolio in Pakistan, which is closely aligned with the country’s national development priorities,” said AIIB vice president and chief administration officer Luky Wuryanto. “The Bank will continue to strengthen efforts to improve institutions, services and infrastructure, which will certainly have a positive impact on economic growth and people’s livelihoods.”