Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s new pipeline for 2018 to 2020 includes about $2 billion per year in assistance for Pakistan, expanding its support to urban development, water resources management, health and education.
This was stated by Xiaohong Yang, ADB Country Director to Pakistan while addressing at the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) 2030 Strategy launching workshop.
The CAREC Strategy 2030 has formally been launched jointly by the government of Pakistan and ADB. The new Strategy was recently approved by the 16th Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Ministerial Conference held on 27th October 2017 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. CAREC is an eleven-member country regional platform that aims to connect People, Policies and Projects for Shared and Sustainable Development.
“By cooperating and working together with other CAREC member countries, Pakistan can better unlock their vast economic potential. By reducing or removing barriers at the border and behind the border, economies of scale can be tapped”, said ADB Country Director, adding that trade in goods and services, technology transfers, labor mobility, and financial transactions all support the realization of Pakistan 2025.
At present, except for China, the trade value of Pakistan with other CAREC member countries are at very low level. CAREC will help Pakistan to create a much larger and much needed regionally integrated market.
She further said that CAREC acts as a bridge between individual countries and the rest of the world. CAREC can help policy-makers better respond to global challenges – whether financial shocks and crises or climate change – thereby making Pakistan economy more resilient. Regional safety nets are critical – whether financial, social, environmental, or disaster-related.
Xiaohong Yang said CAREC can contribute to long-term political and economic stability, thereby creating a peace dividend. It can provide the impetus for maintaining stable and sustained growth that is needed to alleviate poverty and keep Pakistan moving forward.
She further said that since its joining in 2010, Pakistan has benefited from regional connectivity investments under CAREC worth $1.5 billion, of which ADB has provided over $800 million. Roads have been developed, railway strategies are being prepared, we have got energy projects done, trade and trade facilitation work has been undertaken.
While maintaining its comparative advantage in the existing priority areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and trade policy development, the new CAREC strategy 2030 presents a vision that is consistent with stakeholders’ desire to broaden and deepen the regional cooperation. It now includes:
(i) supporting regional economic and financial stability, and
(ii) regional initiatives in the areas of tourism, agriculture and water resources, as well as health and education.
ADB is committed to CAREC and to the new strategy and, in fact, ADB President pledged at least $1 billion a year for the next five years to CAREC. In Pakistan, in addition to key sectors such as energy, transport, finance, agriculture and public sector management, ADB’ s new pipeline for 2018 to 2020 includes about $2.0 billion per year in assistance, expanding its support to urban development, water resource management, health and education.
She said that with rapid economic expansion of RICE countries, the Russian Federation to the north, India to the south, China and Japan to the east, and emerging Europe, there is a unique opportunity for Pakistan to emerge as a center of trade and commerce, and achieve higher levels of economic growth and reduce poverty.
Arif Ahmed Khan Secretary Economic Affaires Division (EAD) assured Pakistan’s support to mobilize all possible resources for improving and developing regional connectivity as outlined in the new strategy. He said that the history of regional connectivity in the Central Asia region and the Sub-Continent since centuries is linked through the silk-routes.
Safdar Parvez, Director ADB headquarters Manila said that ADB has already allocated $5 billion to implement the CAREC Strategy 2030. Syed Mujtaba Hussain, National Focal Person for CAREC in Pakistan encouraged all government agencies to submit practical and viable project proposals from their respective areas.
Special Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, high level representatives from State Bank of Pakistan, Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Ministries of Railway, Water Resources, Climate Change, Commerce, Communications, National Food Security, and others attended the workshop and gave inputs to the way forward on implementation of the new Strategy.