LAHORE: China will ensure the provision of clean water to the residents of Gwadar and impart trai­ning to fishermen to upsc­ale their businesses, the chairman of the China Overseas Port Holding Com­pany (COPHC) said on Monday.

Addressing members of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Yo Bo said, “We will also ensure provision of water supply and other facilities to the residents of Gwadar, as we [China and Pakistan] see Gwadar as the future of CPEC.”

COPHC, which has taken over the Gwadar Port for 40 years for development, has “remarkably transformed Gwadar from a modest village into a thriving modern city, replete with cutting-edge technology,” said Mr Bo. He added that projects under the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have been completed.

“There will be a conference in China on CPEC’s stage-1 in October, this year where these projects will be discussed,” said Mr Bo.

Port holding company head says first phase of CPEC completed, next phase to start in October

The forum will also discuss projects to be initiated under phase 2. “After this meeting, the activities under CPEC’s phase 2 will begin in October.”

Under one of the projects, the fishermen of Gwadar and areas along the coastal belt will be imparted with training to upscale seafood business through innovative means.

Mr Bo said many fishermen in Gwadar had no technological knowledge to boost seafood businesses.

“Under the CPEC, they will be provided with technology and other facilities to enhance breeding and grow seafood business.”

The COPHC chairman underscored the significance of Gwadar for CPEC, hailing it as the project’s pivotal axis.

The first stage of Gwa­dar’s port and city development, along with the Gwa­dar Free Zone, has been completed, marking a substantial achievement, he said.

Mr Bo highlighted China’s substantial investments in Gwadar, including the construction of an airport, infrastructure and healthcare facilities.

The Gwadar Free Zone has already generated economic activity in the area as six companies have set up bases in the 25 hectares space adjacent to the port.

The North Free Zone, covering a sprawling 900 hectares area, was also poised for an industrial and warehousing revolution, Mr Bo said, adding that it will improve the processing of raw materials for subsequent export.

“The Gwadar port is fully operational and equipped to manage both imports and exports,” he said and requested the LCCI members to visit Gwadar and explore business opportunities.

On the occasion, LCCI President Kashif Anwar announced a chamber delegation will soon visit Gwadar. He hailed Gwadar’s role within CPEC, “accentuating its potential to catalyse regional connectivity, benefiting not only China and Pakistan but also adjacent nations such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asian states”.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2023

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