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Development assistance in Pakistan

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Overview of Australia's aid program to Pakistan

Overview of Australia's aid program to Pakistan

How we are helping

2018-19 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$52.0 million

2019-20 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$19.0 million

2019-20 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$32.2 million

Australia has a longstanding relationship with Pakistan given its economic potential and strategic position in South Asia. The Australian Government is committed to supporting Pakistan to build its economic prosperity, and promote sustainable and inclusive development.

Over 2019-20 the Australian Government will provide an estimated $32.2 million in development assistance to Pakistan. This includes an estimated $19.0 million through the bilateral country program.

Pakistan faces complex challenges to realising its economic potential. Energy and infrastructure deficits, skills shortages, and regional instability constrain economic growth. Pakistan's trade continues to lag behind the rest of South Asia, at just 31 per cent of GDP.

With the population of 207 million (in 2017, 34 percent of whom are under 15) set to double by 2050, Pakistan needs to create approximately 1.5 million jobs a year for young people entering the labour market. Around 45 per cent of Pakistan's adult population is illiterate and over 5.3 million children do not attend school (of which, 57 per cent are girls). Malnutrition and limited access to clean water and sanitation reduce the productivity of Pakistan's workforce and undermine population health. Insecurity undermines Pakistan's stability and development, particularly in the provinces bordering Afghanistan. Economic and human development indicators in these areas are amongst the poorest in the country.

To help Pakistan face these challenges, the Australian aid program has three strategic objectives: (i) generating sustainable, inclusive economic growth and employment; (ii) investing in Pakistan's people with a focus on women and girls; and (iii) supporting stability and resilience.

Objective 1: Generating sustainable, inclusive growth and employment

Australian aid is engaging the public and private sectors to address constraints to increased trade and investment, improved agricultural productivity and market opportunities, and water resource management.

Generating sustainable, inclusive economic growth and employment in Pakistan

Objective 2: Investing in Pakistan's people with a focus on women and girls

Australia is providing support to provincial governments to deliver nutrition, education and gender-based violence services, with a particular focus on women and girls. Accelerating progress in these areas will promote economic growth and contribute to Pakistan's stability.

Investing in Pakistan's people with a focus on women and girls

Objective 3: Supporting stabilisation and resilience

Pakistan's stability is critical to economic growth and human development, and to regional security. Australia prioritises development assistance to Pakistan's insecure and disadvantaged border areas - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan. Our aid is promoting human development and economic growth in these regions, especially amongst the most vulnerable. We also aim to build the capacity of community organisations and government to deliver services, including during crises.

Supporting stabilisation and resilience

Cross-cutting priorities

Australia's support to Pakistan is underpinned by three important cross-cutting themes – women's empowerment, good governance and stability. We recognise that progress in these areas is critical to Pakistan's ability to realise its development and economic objectives. All our investments address these issues in our policy approaches and delivery.

Our results

The 2018-19 Pakistan Aid Program Performance Report concluded our aid program has made an important contribution to the country's development. We invested where long-term development needs in Pakistan converged with recognised Australian strengths.

In 2018-19, the key achievements of Australia's aid program to Pakistan included:

  • providing food and cash transfers to over two million people affected by poverty, drought and internal displacement
  • agreeing on an Memorandum of Understanding and action plan on Water Resource Management with the Government of Pakistan
  • supporting 1.2 million people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces to access justice, public services and business grants to recover from protracted conflict.

Our changing program

The May 2019 budget announced that the Pakistan bilateral aid program would be $19.0 million in 2019-20, with the bilateral program fully phasing out during 2020-21. Our modest ongoing aid footprint, drawing on regional and global funding, will reinforce select areas where Australia can make the most difference in Pakistan.

Last Updated: 28 October 2019
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