ISLAMABAD: World Bank (WB) and Government of Pakistan (GoP) are reportedly working on a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which would only accommodate the emerging development priorities of Pakistan, well informed sources in EAD told Business Recorder.

CPF will reflect the indicative financing volume that would be made available by the World Bank Group to achieve the set priorities during the CPF period.

The initial set of priorities discussed for the new CPF include: (i) structural economic reforms, including domestic resource mobilisation, particularly via digitalisation and tax policy reforms; (ii) human capital development, specifically addressing child stunting and improving foundational learning; (iii) energy sector reforms, including increased participation of the private sector in transmission and distribution, and greening the energy mix-all to make energy cheaper, cleaner and financially sustainable; (iv) climate adaptation, to better cope with increased water scarcity and climate-related shocks, as well as improving air quality; and(v) increasing economic opportunities, including in agriculture. The partnership in these areas will include institutional capacity building, leveraging digital transformation and prioritise private sector participation.

Pakistan, World Bank agree to ‘Country Partnership Framework’

CPF’s five high level objectives: 10 objectives and targets and four enabling areas are as follows: (i) reduce child stunning – improved access to health, nutrition and family planning and improved access to clean water; (ii) poverty- improved access to quality schools and foundational learning; (iii) more resilience to climate change, more resilience to water scarcity, droughts and heatwaves and increased resilience to floods and disasters; (iv) increased decarbonisation- access to cleaner, more sustainable energy (including hydropower, solar and T&D investments) and decarbonisation of the economy, including air pollution; and (v) more inclusive economic opportunities, more opportunities in sustainable agriculture value chains, increased privative investments and exports and increased access to inclusive finance.

According to sources, the proposed foundational and enabling policies and investments will be as follows: (i) stability and openness- a stable macro-fiscal environment, open trade and investment policies conducive to competition; (ii) access and connectivity services for households and firm- digital and transport infrastructure and services; (iii) protection, social safety nets that provide resilience to the bottom 50 per cent and incentives for human capital investments; and (iv) local government and cities with increased funding, investment and governance capacity.

The sources said during a recent meeting of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with the Vice President of the World Bank for South Asia Region in Islamabad, it was agreed to engage in a long-term, focused partnership with an annual review mechanism to better assess the progress and to ensure results are achieved.

The partnership will have the ambition to achieve transformational impacts over a decade on a selective set of critical development priorities for Pakistan. “To ensure consistent alignment of CPF with the government agenda and emergent development needs, it was unanimously agreed to keep some flexibility in the strategy for future course corrections and to better adjust the emerging priorities,” the sources added.

The process for preparation of new CPF was agreed to comprise of consultations with federal and provincial governments, as well as, academia, parliamentarians, civil society, development partners and the private sector.

The World Bank will coordinate with stakeholders to discuss the partnership priorities duly aligned with the key development priorities and strategy of the government. “Start preparatory work in consultation with the relevant stakeholders to timely prioritise their development needs/ projects, in aligning with government strategies/ plans and sectoral requirements, to ensure their appropriate reflection in the new country partnership framework of the World Bank.

I would also like to encourage you to nominate a two-member team of experts from your side to better coordinate and complete this exercise in time,“ the sources quoted Secretary EAD as conveying to concerned Ministries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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