Friday, June 02, 2006

World Bank's new cash plan for Pakistan

(Source Article: World Bank increases PK support - WB News)

The World Bank is poised to implement a new Country Assistance Strategy program for Pakistan—a flexible lending program including some US$6.5 billion over the next three years.

The immediate priority of the lending program is the impact of last October’s earthquake: about $1 billion will be used for reconstruction and recovery. Additionally, most of the money in the program will be focused on infrastructure development: energy, water, transport and human development.

During the past 6 years, Pakistan has experienced substantial economic growth: the growth rate increased from an average of 3.3 percent during 1997-2002 to an astounding 8.4 percent in 2004-2005.

Despite the progress being made in Pakistan, officials say it will be difficult to achieve the Millenium Development Goals for infant mortality, child malnutrition, and primary education completion, to name a few.

WB’s vice president for South Asia commented that sustained growth in the region will depend upon further improvement of macroeconomic management and faster progress in the improvement of quality of life for Pakistanis, especially women. (see WB's new Pakistan plan - BBC news)

Perhaps key to this goal is one part of the WB’s operations in Pakistan: the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). The fund allows access to small loans for Pakistanis interested in starting their own small businesses, or to those communities who collectively invest in infrastructure schemes such as road paving and well digging. Such a plan allows the WB to tailor its development assistance to the locals—whose knowledge of their plight is imperative to improvement. (see Ten things about PK and WB -

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