The development aid money has been granted to support poverty reduction measures and economic growth. Given through its Country Partnership scheme, the Bank has recognised the “tremendous challenges” Pakistan has experienced over the past year, particularly the 2011 floods which left nearly 3 million in need of food aid and around 200,000 Pakistanis homeless. The World Bank’s country director for Pakistan said the organisation was glad to “support the emergency response to floods”, as well as launching a Multi-Donor Trust Fund aimed at providing assistance to crisis-hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan province.
The money will be provided across the fiscal years 2012-2014. Some of the funding will be targeted at human development and social protection, providing critical services like education and health and “safety nets for vulnerable populations”. A portion of the funding will go towards economic governance. This will include support for infrastructure programmes, with the aim of creating jobs and helping to boost long-term economic growth.
The announcement comes at a time when other international organisations are struggling to raise money to support Pakistan. The United Nations (UN) asked countries to pledge money for an emergency appeal of 357 million dollars to support the emergency relief efforts after the recent flooding in Sindh and Balochistan. Earlier this month, less than 40% of the amount – 131 million dollars – had been raised and aid agencies were warning they may be forced to end their emergency programmes in the New Year. A UN spokesperson admitted that raising funds for the appeal was proving hard due to the global economic crisis and the needs of other disasters such as the East African famine.
Some countries are also concerned about how donated funds will be spent and whether money will reach those who need it most. Reflecting such concerns, the World Bank’s country director for Pakistan commented to the AFP news agency that while the financial assistance for 2012-2014 has been pledged to “continue our strong support to Pakistan”, the organisation would also be “keeping a keen eye on implementation to ensure that these efforts translate into real results on the ground”. For many ordinary Pakistanis struggling to survive after the recent disasters have robbed them of their homes and livelihoods, assistance on the ground cannot come soon enough.