World Bank Support to Pakistan at Record High in 2009
Directs $1.7 billion to overcome poverty, enhance growth
The World Bank committed US$1.7 billion in fiscal year 2009 (FY09) to help Pakistan cope amid the global economic crisis, the institution’s highest ever year-on-year support to the country. This represents an increase of US$1,064 billion over FY08.
The Bank’s financial support and technical assistance to Pakistan focused on helping the country maintain economic stability, steer the economy back onto a higher growth path and help the government to put in place the systems and procedures to realize its vision to adequately and effectively protect the poor from economic shocks.
“Pakistan has faced daunting challenges over the past year, including a domestic macroeconomic crisis, a global recession, political turmoil and serious security challenges,” said Yusupha Crookes, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “The tripling of our support during a time of need demonstrates our commitment to promote growth and stability in Pakistan. The focus of our assistance has been to ensure the country’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens are shielded from the major adverse impacts of these external shocks. Pakistan should also not lose the momentum in seeking to build the capability of its citizens especially the poor and our support puts considerable emphasis on supporting government to continue its efforts in this regard.”
Key to the Bank’s program in Pakistan is scaling up existing programs that are delivering results. For example, the Bank approved US$250 million for the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), a program the Bank has supported since 2000. During this time, PPAF has facilitated the formation of 80,000 community organizations and provided 1.9 million micro-credit loans and 16,000 community infrastructure schemes.
The Bank also continued to invest in education in Punjab and Sindh. In FY09, the Bank committed a total of US$650 million to support the provincial governments’ own education reform programs which aim to increase school participation and progression, reduce gender and rural-urban disparities, and improve quality and education sector governance.
In addition to its lending and technical support, the Bank, together with the Government of Japan, convened the international community in Tokyo for a donor’s conference in April to mobilize additional resources for Pakistan. Donors rallied to support Pakistan’s macroeconomic recovery with US$5 billion in funding designed to meet its immediate needs and protect expenditures on safety net and human development programs critical for the poor.
Globally, the World Bank Group committed US $58.8 billion in fiscal year 2009, up 54 percent from fiscal year 2008.