The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at Five

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that was officially launched in April 2015, promised transformational gains. Five years later, a quarter of announced projects have been completed, energy projects dominate, and industrialization efforts are lagging, according to data collected by the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project.

Sources and Methodology

This data was collected using publicly available information from Pakistan’s government CPEC portal and annual budgets, the website of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and relevant local, national, and international news articles published through January 2020.

The dataset reflects a broad definition that counts projects announced by either side as well as media reports associating them with the CPEC. The majority of projects included in this analysis are listed in the CPEC portal operated by the government of Pakistan. Some projects associated with the initiative by sources may have since been shelved or excluded from CPEC, despite sharing many similar characteristics to CPEC projects, including the participation of Chinese contractors or funders.

Projects are evaluated based on the most recent reputable reports regarding project status. Projects are labeled as announced, preparatory works (meaning a feasibility study or impact assessment is being conducted), started (meaning funding is secured), under construction, completed, or shelved based upon either primary sources or reporting from multiple reliable secondary sources. Some CPEC projects pre-date the initiative’s official announcement in 2015. Not all CPEC projects are recipients of Chinese funding.

The dataset includes physical infrastructure projects in the sectors of energy, transportation, water and sanitation, and information and communications technology (ICT) as well as the construction of physical facilities (such as schools and hospitals), and technical assistance. In-kind donations of books and other materials are excluded.

Please cite this data as: Reconnecting Asia Project, “CPEC at Five Dataset,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 2020,