AIIB commits $112m to improve transport, water services in Karachi

KARACHI: 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 Jun Liqun approved a $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.

AlIB’s latest investment in the megacity comes on the heels of a $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 $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.

AIIB vice president said that bank has steadily growing investment portfolio in Pakistan which is closely aligned with the country’s national development priorities.

Senior Investment operation specialist AIIB Ghufran Shafi told Pakistan Today that AIIB has kept $100 million for live able cities project to upgrade the infrastructure of five KP cities including Peshawar, Kohat, Mangora, Mardan and AbbotAbad.

Under this project, roads, sewerage system and other facilities in the cities would be built in above-mentioned five cities, he added.

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