Minister of Planning and Development of Pakistan Ahsan lqbal on Monday said the international community has termed Pakistan as the fastest-growing Muslim economy in the world, adding that 2018 will be the year when the country "overcomes [its] energy shortage", Radio Pakistan reported.

Iqbal was addressing the inaugural ceremony of CPEC Centre of Excellence in Islamabad.

Read more: 'Iconic' CPEC Tower to be built in Islamabad: Ahsan Iqbal

The planning and development minister said that many projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will formally reach completion in 2018, which will subsequently bolster Pakistan's capacity to generate power.

Iqbal added that the centre will serve as "guiding star" for both policymakers and investors, allowing them to collaborate and implement goals set under CPEC.

He further said that the centre's research is streamlined towards six key areas under CPEC, including the socio-economic impact of the project, job opportunities it will create, trade and industrial development, regional connectivity, financial integration and urban development.

The centre will also help in debunking myths and false information "being militated against the project", the minister added, saying CPEC is a "corridor of peace and prosperity".

Speaking on the occasion, China's Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong announced that in a bid to strengthen capacity building, the two countries are launching a "talent exchange programme" to allow those interested to research and study in China.

He added that CPEC is a "symbol of friendship" between the two countries, and that China will assist the Pakistani government and provide "all necessary facilities to the centre".



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