WB to provide up to $5.5 billion for next 3 years

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The World Bank Group (WBG) will continue to support Pakistan’s poverty reduction and development agenda with an expected assistance of up to 5.5 billion U.S. dollars over the fiscal years 2012-2014, according to the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy Progress Report (CPSPR), the WB website said on Friday.
The progress report is a mid-term review and implementation assessment of the Pakistan CPS, which was discussed by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on July 8, 2010.
The report assesses changes in the program since the CPS Board discussion and proposes adjustments for the remaining implementation period. In consultation with the Government of Pakistan, the original CPS period has been extended by one year to include FY14, the WB website said.
“The Bank has responded flexibly in the face of the tremendous challenges Pakistan has gone through over the past year or so. I am pleased that we have been able to support the emergency response to floods, launch a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for the crises-hit areas of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, and deepen engagement with the provinces,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
“Going forward, we will continue our strong support to Pakistan, while keeping a keen eye on implementation to ensure that these efforts translate into real results on the ground.”
The progress report says the overall focus of the Bank’s strategy – to help Pakistan’s economy get back onto a path of high, sustained growth – remains valid and consistent with the overall priorities of the Government of Pakistan as articulated in its New Framework for Growth Strategy. Also, the Bank support will remain centred on the original pillars of the CPS — economic governance; human development and social protection; infrastructure; and security and conflict risk reduction.
The Bank program will ensure continued attention to critical social services like education and health and safety nets for vulnerable populations to address any negative implications during a weak economic growth period. In addition, the Bank will support transformational infrastructure programs, particularly energy (e.g. hydropower), which will help create jobs and restore long-term growth.
The Progress Report notes that while the Bank may not be able to provide budget support given weak conditions for macro-economic reform, it will remain engaged in supporting the Government in the critical issues of revenue mobilization and power reform through analytical work, ongoing projects, and exploring operations where disbursements are based on the achievement of results. Given increased frequency of natural disasters, the Bank will bring additional focus and assistance on the Disaster Risk Management agenda. The regional cooperation opportunities will also receive increased attention.
The Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan is the Bank’s newest instrument for strategic engagement in the crises-hit regions. The MDTF became effective on August 5, 2010 with grant support of 10 countries pledging 140 million U.S. dollars. The focus of the first round of MDTF projects is on creating employment and livelihoods opportunities, emergency roads construction, strengthening governance, and revitalizing health services.