The World Bank has approved an additional $1 billion in funding for Pakistan’s Dasu Hydropower Stage I (DHP I) Project. This funding will enhance hydropower electricity supply, improve socio-economic services for local communities, and strengthen the Water and Power Development Authority’s (WAPDA) ability to plan future hydropower projects.

Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, stated that Pakistan’s energy sector faces significant challenges in achieving affordable and sustainable energy. The Dasu hydropower project, located on the Indus River near Dasu Town in Upper Kohistan District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, is poised to be a transformative project for the country’s energy sector.

The project, upon completion, will have a capacity of 4320-5400MW. The current stage, DHP-I, will generate 2160MW, providing 12,225GWh of renewable energy annually. The next stage, DHP-II, will add another 9260-11,400GWh per year.

“DHP-I is an essential project in Pakistan’s efforts to reverse its dependence on fossil fuels and reach 60 percent renewable energy by 2031.” said Rikard Liden, Task Team Leader for the Project. “The second additional financing will facilitate the expansion of electricity supply and potentially save Pakistan an estimated $1.8 billion annually by replacing imported fuels, and offset around 5 million tons of carbon dioxide. The annual economic return of DHP-I is estimated to be around 28 percent.”

The additional financing will also support ongoing socio-economic projects in Upper Kohistan, focusing on education, health, employment, and transport. Since 2012, adult literacy has increased by 30%, boys’ schooling by 16%, and girls’ schooling by 70%. Community development activities will continue, including improvements to roads, irrigation systems, schools, medical facilities, and solar energy systems, with particular attention to benefiting women through healthcare clinics, training programs, and awareness campaigns.

Pakistan has been a World Bank member since 1950, receiving over $46 billion in assistance. The current World Bank portfolio in Pakistan includes 55 projects with a total commitment of $14.7 billion.