World Bank approves $535m for Pakistan

Ashraf Malkham & Mehtab Haider
Saturday, Jun 22, 2024

ISLAMABAD: he World Bank’s (WB) Board of Executive Directors approved $535 million in financing for Pakistan to support two projects, a statement from the institution said Friday.

The additional financing for the Crisis Resilient Social Protection (CRISP) Programme aims to strengthen the country’s social protection system and build shock resilience among poor and vulnerable households.

At the same time, the Sindh Livestock and Aquaculture Sectors Transformation (LIVAQUA) Project will promote climate-smart and competitive small and medium producers in the livestock and aquaculture sectors in Sindh.

“The catastrophic floods that hit Pakistan in 2022 were a tragic reminder of the importance to build resilience to such disasters, including by strengthening both social protection and sectors that support economic growth and recovery,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

“It is also imperative to help the vulnerable absorb climate shocks through innovative climate-smart technology and contingency planning.”

The additional financing for CRISP ($400 million) will build on the programme’s ongoing efforts to equip Pakistan’s social protection system with the policy and delivery system foundations necessary for more effective and rapid responses to future crises.

The programme will focus on longer-term policy actions to further improve the national cash transfer program’s effectiveness, coverage and federal-provincial coordination.

“Since its inception, the CRISP program has achieved significant results with regular safety net support to more than 9 million families and a demonstrated capability of quickly reaching 2.8 million families during the recent floods,” said Amjad Zafar Khan, Task Team Leader for the Project.

“The additional financing would not only assist families in becoming more resilient to climate and economic shocks but also encourage the use of provincial capacities to take up a larger role in social assistance.”

LIVAQUA ($135 million) will finance interventions to promote climate-smart production, value addition, and inclusive access to markets, and help create opportunities for growth in the livestock and aquaculture sectors.

These will include improving sector policy and strategic frameworks, as well as evidence-based decision-making. It will also contribute to strengthening the capacity of public and private providers to deliver essential knowledge, inputs, and services such as disease surveillance and control, diagnostic laboratory services, breeding programs, food safety, and the development and transfer of green technologies. LIVAQUA will cover all districts in Sindh using a phased approach. It is expected to directly benefit more than 940,000 farm families, including 930,000 livestock households and 10,000 aquaculture producers. The project also includes measures to ensure female farmers’ participation in the project and narrow gender gaps.

“The project will improve the livelihoods of small and medium livestock and aquaculture producers, increase their resilience to animal health and climate-related shocks, strengthen the overall growth of these two sectors in Sindh, and more broadly improve food and nutrition security and reduce the sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Myriam Chaudron, Task Team Leader for the project.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed $250 million agreement for promoting Public Private Partnership program loan.

Dr Kazim Niaz, Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs and Yong Ye, Country Director, ADB signed the $250 million Promoting Sustainable Public–Private Partnerships Programme Loan to help Pakistan drive sustainable investments in infrastructure and services through Public-Private partnerships (PPPs). The programme’s core objective is to strengthen the governance framework and enabling environment for public–private partnerships (PPPs) at the federal government level, by strengthening the: (i) policy, legal and institutional frameworks for Public Investment Management (PIM) and Public Financial Management (PFM) for PPPs; and (ii) national and sectoral infrastructure planning and PPP project preparation. Dr Kazim Niaz thanked ADB for its continued support for Pakistan’s critical development needs and rehabilitation efforts in post-flood context. The program loans support the Government’s reform agenda, Balance of Payment (BOP), and contribute to the macroeconomic stability of the country. Dr Kazim Niaz stated that the program would go a long way in realization of the Prime Minister’s vision of greater involvement of the private sector in the development process. Mr. Yong Ye underscored the importance of a conducive enabling environment to foster strategic and fiscally affordable PPPs in Pakistan.