MANILA: The Asian Development Bank announced on Tuesday that it will be extending Pakistan a $300 million loan to finance the construction of a 300-megawatt hydropower plant near Balakot.
The plant, which will incorporate seismic strengthening and climate-proofing measures, will be built on the Kunhar river near Balakot City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and commissioned by 2027.
“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300 million loan to finance the construction of a 300-megawatt hydropower plant that will increase the share of clean energy in Pakistan and improve the country’s energy security,” said the lender in a statement.
#ADBNEWS: ADB approved a $300 million loan to finance the construction of a 300-megawatt hydropower plant that will increase the share of clean energy in Pakistan & improve the country’s energy security.
The plant will add 1,143 gigawatt-hours of clean energy annually.
— Asian Development Bank (@ADB_HQ) March 30, 2021
The lender said that Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change, with water resources and energy particularly at risk from floods, droughts, high temperatures, and other extreme weather events and the plant will add 1,143 gigawatt-hours of clean energy annually to the country’s energy mix, enhancing the energy sector’s reliability and sustainability.
The project will also generate economic activity and improve the skills of local communities. During construction, the project will generate more than 1,200 jobs, about 40 per cent of which will be sourced locally, and provide livelihood skills development for women.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan is rich in hydropower resources but only around 16pc of its identified hydropower potential has been harnessed.
Earlier on Monday, the bank and Pakistan had agreed to expand cooperation in various sectors during a virtual meeting between Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar and ADB Central and West Asia Department Director General Yevgeniy Zhukov.
Both sides discussed and agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of trade and competitiveness, social protection, public-private partnership, operationalisation of the EXIM Bank, and domestic resource mobilisation.
Bakhtyar appreciated ADB’s role as a trusted development partner of Pakistan especially in terms of the quality of the portfolio and support keeping in view the emerging needs of the country that includes ADB’s timely support to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
He highlighted that despite challenges posed by the pandemic and worldwide contraction, the country’s key economic indicators are showing encouraging results owing to the government’s strong commitment to structural reforms.