WB to provide $1.3bn for Pakistan’s social sector development

World Bank, Pakistan sign seven project agreements to support govt’s initiatives in social protection, disaster & climate risk management, infrastructural uplift, agriculture & food security and human capital development

ISLAMABAD: World Bank and Pakistan have signed seven project agreements worth $1.336 billion to support government’s initiatives in social development.

Economic Affairs Secretary Noor Ahmed signed the financing agreements on behalf of Pakistan during a ceremony held in Islamabad, while representatives of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan governments signed their respective project agreements online. World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine signed the agreements on behalf of the bank.

“This financing will support government’s initiatives in social protection, disaster & climate risk management, infrastructure improvement, agriculture & food security, human capital development etc.,” a statement issued on Friday read.

Speaking on the occasion, Khusro Bakhtyar thanked the World Bank management for extending their continuous support to Pakistan’s sustainable development agenda. “This continued and enhanced support shows the confidence of international financial institutions and development partners on the progress and reforms being undertaken by the present government,” he remarked.

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The minister reiterated the federal government’s commitment to extend all possible support to the provincial governments in order to overcome development woes.

Meanwhile, WB Country Director Najy Benhassine assured the government of the bank’s continuous financial and technical support to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Pakistan.

The agreements signed between WB and the Government of Pakistan include:

Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Programme

The objective of the $600 million programme is to support the development of more adaptive social protection systems that will contribute to future crisis-resilience among poor and vulnerable households in the country. The programme is focused on the key initiatives being undertaken by Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) under the Ehaas Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes, namely Kafalat, Waseela-e-Taleem, and Nashonuma. Financial inclusion and informal worker support initiatives of Ehsaas have also been included in the programme.

Locust Emergency and Food Security Project

The $200-million project, through a strengthened and better coordinated federal‐provincial government system, will introduce and implement a set of customized activities, such as conducting locust surveillance and controlling operations, rehabilitating livelihoods of affected rural communities and farmers, strengthening and operating the Food Security & Nutrition Information System, emphasizing climate‐smart agriculture measures and women’s participation to effectively address desert locust outbreak and to reduce vulnerability to climate change in the long term.

KP Human Capital Investment Project

The objective of this $200 million project is to improve availability, utilization and quality of primary healthcare services and elementary education services in four KP districts that have been hosting refugees i.e. Peshawar, Nowshera Haripur and Swabi.

Sindh Resilience Project

The $200-million project aims to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters and public health emergencies. The project will support the establishment of the Sindh Emergency Service, including the development of six divisional headquarters operational facilities, provision of equipment, and training of personnel. The project will also support the construction of 35 small rainwater-fed recharge dams in drought prone regions of Sindh including Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu and Nagarparker in Tharparkar districts.

Balochistan Projects

‘Balochistan Livelihood & Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Balochistan Human Capital Investment’ projects, worth $86 million, aim to promote employment opportunities for rural communities, achieve sustainability of enterprises, and improve utilization of quality health and education services in various districts of Balochistan.

Refugees’ Management

The objective of this $50 million project, titled ‘Institutional Interventions for Management of Refugees Project’, is to improve organizational and institutional capacity to manage refugees and host communities.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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