The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom will cofinance the $327 million cost of the 59 kilometer Hassanabdal – Havelian Expressway (E-35) project.
“ADB and DFID are joining hands to promote regional connectivity, economic growth, and stability in Pakistan. Our partnership with DFID for the E-35 is an important step in this direction,” said Sean O’Sullivan, Director General of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department who witnessed the signing of the agreement.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister and ADB Governor Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Head of DFID Pakistan Richard Montgomery were also present at the occasion. The loan agreement was signed by ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan Werner E. Liepach and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Muhammad Saleem Sethi, while the project agreement was signed by member, National Highway Authority, Arshad Mehmood Chaudhry, according to ADB.
ADB had earlier approved $327 million for the project in two tranches of $200 million and $127 million respectively under the multitranche facility (MFF) for the National Trade Corridor Highway Investment Program (NTCHIP). This original investment was for the E35 expressway connecting the existing M1 at Hassanabdal (Burhan) to Havelian. DFID’s grant contribution of $121.6 million will allow ADB to fund the extension of the expressway to Abottabad and Mansehra to the North.
“The UK’s collaboration will support Pakistan to improve road safety and to create an environment that will transform roads into economic corridors,” said Mr. Montgomery. “This partnership will not only help Pakistan promote and expand trade with regional partners, but also to create more jobs and sustainable livelihoods.”
The upgrade to the E35 Expressway will allow Pakistan to act as a transit artery for goods moving between Arabian seaports in the south and the People’s Republic of China in the north. The Expressway will enable safer, faster and more cost effective inter-regional transportation of goods and services, spurring economic activity and opportunities for the people in towns and cities along the route.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB’s assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.