ISLAMABAD: Dispelling the perceived opposition of the United States to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), USAID mission director in Pakistan John P. Groarke on Thursday said if successfully executed, the project would be of great benefit to Pakistan.

Talking to reporters, he said the United States and China shared an interest in promoting sustainable development in Pakistan.

“We all want to support Pakistan,” he remarked.

He said on behalf of the American people, USAID supported sustainable development for a stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan with efforts to meet the challenge of energy crisis as a high priority area.

Mr Groarke said the USAID-sponsored projects had increased Pakistan’s energy supply by more than 1,600 megawatts, enough to benefit over 17 million people. USAID also helped power distribution companies modernise their equipment and practices, increasing their revenue by $336 million in the last three years.

He said other priority areas for USAID in Pakistan included economic growth and agriculture, education and health.

Giving details of assistance to businesses and farmers, he said USAID and its partners introduced new management and marketing practices and technologies to the agricultural sector which employed more than 40 per cent of the nation’s workforce.

“Our projects increased financing available to small businesses through partnerships with four private sector banks and by launching the Pakistan private investment initiative.”

He said these efforts were designed to match US funding one-to-one with private equity capital to make over $150 million available for small businesses.

He said over the past five years, export revenues in USAID-targeted commodities increased by $5.75 million.

About education, he said since 2010 USAID built or repaired nearly 1,000 schools and trained about 10,000 teachers and school administrators to improve the quality of education. “Since 2012, the US government has provided scholarships to nearly 7,000 students” Mr Groarke added.

He said the US government also built or rehabilitated more than 1,000 kilometres of roads, increasing the under-served communities’ access to markets and services.

He said the agency strengthened Pakistan government’s efforts to support temporarily dislocated people by offering water, food and shelter as well as longer-term support to help families rebuild their lives.

In the health sector, he said the US government paid for a new public hospital in Jacobabad, financed a new gynecology ward at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi that can provide high quality care to 140,000 women annually. It also helped more than 3.5 million mothers, newborns and children receive family planning and health services. He said training was also imparted to a large number of healthcare workers.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2015

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