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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the World Bank Tuesday discussed the next 5-year Country Partnership Framework (2022-26), which focuses on girls and boys education, growing healthy, green and clean Pakistan, growth and governance (5G).

Hartwig Schafer, vice president for South Asia, World Bank called on the Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan in the Ministry of Economic Affairs on Tuesday.

Both the sides discussed the World Bank’s ongoing portfolio, economic reforms and development priorities for upcoming country partnership framework (2022-2026).

The Minister for Economic Affairs appreciated the World Bank’s continued support to Pakistan.

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He shared that 57 projects worth $12.9 billion are under implementation under the World Bank’s financing in the priority areas such as education, health, social protection, finance, agriculture, energy and communication across the country.

According to the documents available with Business Recorder, against the commitment of $12.97 billion for ongoing portfolio of 57 projects, the World Bank has disbursed $4.242 billion.

The bank disbursed $1.378 billion in 2019-20 and $2.048 billion in 2020-21.

During the outgoing fiscal year, the government signed 16 projects worth $3.64 billion with the World Bank.

The minister also appreciated the World Bank for its global initiative amounting to $12 billion to help developing countries for procuring Covid-19 vaccines.

He highlighted that Pakistan’s efforts to curtail the Covid-19 pandemic through smart lock down approach and addressing the socioeconomic challenges through fiscal stimulus package under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of lives and livelihoods is being highly recognised and appreciated by the global community.

While discussing the future interventions, the Minister for Economic Affairs emphasised enhanced connectivity in rural areas though improved road and digital networks.

Rural roads connectivity is one of the key components for rural development.

An efficient and reliable rural road network promotes access to social services such as health facilities and educational institutes and enhanced economic opportunities through increased agricultural income and employment.

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Further, cold storage is crucial to control the post-harvest losses and price fluctuations of perishable commodities.

The Minister for Economic Affairs also highlighted that Pakistan has huge potential to enhance its IT exports.

The minister proposed that the World Bank may provide technical and financial support to build digital infrastructure including fiber optics network and incubation centers for specialised training and certification of IT experts.

Hartwig Schafer appreciated the government’s economic policies and reform agenda.

He further emphasised on timely completion of the ongoing policy reforms and development projects.

He also commanded the efforts of the Ministry of Economic Affairs to resolve long outstanding bottlenecks and expedite the project implementation on fast track basis, which is evident from the enhanced disbursement during the last fiscal year.

Hartwig Schafer ensured the bank’s support to the Government of Pakistan in achieving economic growth and sustainable development.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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