The World Bank on Wednesday said it was ready to support the reform plans of the new Pakistani government that will help to stabilize the economy, accelerate growth, end poverty and boost prosperity.
The commitment was made by the World Bank’s newly appointed vice-president for the South Asia region, Hartwig Schafer, when he met government officials and key counterparts to discuss Pakistan’s development priorities and reform agenda, according to a statement released by the bank.
“The visit gave me an opportunity to learn more about how we support millions of people in Pakistan, especially the youth, through investments in health, nutrition, education, skills and the digital economy,” Schafer said.
During his two-day stay in Islamabad, Schafer met with Finance Minister Asad Umar and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, among others. He also held discussions on digital disruption and regional connectivity and trade with stakeholders from the private sector and civil society.
“I am impressed to learn of Pakistan’s plans for investing in human capital and creating jobs, attracting investments through ease of doing business and better regional connectivity, improving infrastructure and services in Karachi, and strengthening the management of water and the environment,” Schafer said.
“We look forward to providing support to implement urgent reforms needed to stabilize the economy and achieve accelerated growth in the medium term.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Office said Qureshi and Schafer discussed ways to support the new government especially in education, agriculture and rural development with a special emphasis on regional connectivity as well as the World Bank’s collaboration in CASA-1000 and the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (also known as Peshawar-Torkhum-Kabul Motorway).
“The Foreign Minister thanked the World Bank for its continued support since 1952. He solicited the bank’s support for development priorities of the new government and also shared the prime minister’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $33.4 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s programme in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current World Bank portfolio includes 43 projects with a net commitment of $7.79 billion.