Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told a regional conference on Wednesday that his country is experiencing an economic revival, with greater momentum gained in energy, transport and infrastructure activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
"CPEC will go beyond bilateral initiatives and lead to uplift economic development of whole region," Sharif said in his keynote address at the 15th meeting of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) held in Islamabad.
More than 200 participants from 10 member countries, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and multilateral development partners are attending the events.
The two-day conference has been organized by Pakistan's Economic Affairs Division in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
"I am confident that besides Pakistan, the benefits of CPEC would be multiplied for the CAREC countries as well with the cooperation and integration of member countries," said the prime minister.
"Pakistan is committed to promote economic and social development through regional cooperation," he said, adding that his country firmly believes that through regional cooperation much better results can be achieved in fight against poverty.
He also called for establishment of a pool of experts drawn from finance, banking, capital market, energy, transport, and trade and infrastructure sectors.
"This pool of experts should be open not only to Government but also to businesses, industry, non-Government organizations, researchers and academia. This will result in intra-regional transfer of knowledge and multi-dimensional benefit for all."
Addressing the meeting, chief of the ADB Takehiko Nakao noted that the CAREC program has launched 174 projects worth 28.9 billion U.S. dollars since its establishment in 2001.
"The CAREC program is advancing regional cooperation and there have been major achievements in transport, connectivity and trade facilitation," he said.
For his part, Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said his country is also implementing CPEC projects to promote connectivity and spur the regional growth.
He said that CPEC offers greater opportunities to the central Asian states, the Middle East and Africa, adding that the timely completion of projects will bring improvement in the lives of the people in the region.