Implications of China Pakistan Economic Corridor on Energy, Infrastructure, Trade and Human Capital
CitationZaidi, Umar S. 2019. Implications of China Pakistan Economic Corridor on Energy, Infrastructure, Trade and Human Capital. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a $60+ billion project between China and Pakistan to create a network of highways, railways, and pipelines between these regions. It is the flagship project of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR), also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the New Silk Road. This roughly 2,000-mile route runs from China, across Pakistan, toward the newly built seaport of Gwadar, which is advantageously positioned on the Arabian Sea in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, connecting Asia to the Arabian Sea and the Strait of Hormuz. Several energy and infrastructure development projects that will boost economic growth along the pathways from north to south through Pakistan are discussed in detail.
This project is pivotal for the region. Operating in a continent that includes three nuclear-armed countries, it is critical to maintain peace, prosperity and stability. China has taken the lead not just in Asia but also among countries in Europe and Africa. However, the project also creates regional instability due to rivalries between Pakistan and India, and with China and other global economic superpowers. Answers to many of the complex issues in this project can be found in more data, transparency, and first-hand accounting of social, political, and cultural dynamics in the region. Since the majority of the CPEC projects depend on the use of non-renewable resources—even for making renewable power bases—it is imperative that both China and Pakistan phase out the use of coal and oil and depend more on sustainable energy. This is also one of the major goals of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and both China and Pakistan have signed this international agreement.
This research tests this possibility by scaling the powerplant power supply and its distribution to replicate the power distribution to a previously determined number of residents. This can be achieved through reliable and available government data and power company databases. The confounding variable is the number of residents who are nonregistered, who attach to power lines for their power supply. Since the number of such residents is only estimated, compiling accurate data would give project leaders proper insight into this issue that has persisted for several years. It is also imperative to note how much coal use is put into yield results. If five times more coal is used to create only a small output, is it worthwhile when massive air pollution is created? This data could be used in a five to ten-year timeframe to allow scientists and policymakers to assess the effects of non-renewable energy in addition to the positive or negative consequences of using renewable resources. This research concludes that CPEC will generate more power. However, solving the energy crisis demands a multipronged approach that considers population, energy demands, and early harvest production results. There continue to be reports of several hours of electricity outages in many regions, especially areas with concentrated populations. In order to control or reduce the demand for electricity, the use of new technologies based on renewable energy must be given priority. Incentivizing such projects could allow each industry (industrial, commercial and residential) to identify and implement a sustainable model.
In order to ensure ultimate success, both the administration and the people of Pakistan work to prevent CPEC from becoming a victim of the political squabbling and governmental lethargy present in the previous administrations. Although a sizeable number of people view CPEC with cynicism and political controversy, there are more who are have welcomed it enthusiastically with high optimism. Plans for the CPEC are lofty but feasible; improvements in infrastructure will allow for greater regional connectivity and expansion of trade. The creation of Gwadar Port will encourage increased trade and exports. Human resource development and human capital must be utilized effectively to reap current and future gains for both nations. Human capital will aid CPEC to fully utilize the positive impacts of this mammoth project. The economic corridor has the potential to change the outlook for both Pakistan and China. Therefore, the momentum must not be lost, and the people and government of Pakistan, in bilateral cooperation with China, must endeavor to complete the economic project for a better future for each nation.
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