WB to support Pakistan’s development priorities through new strategy

KARACHI: The World Bank Group Pakistan (WBG) is preparing its new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) to guide its knowledge, advisory and financing engagement in the country over the next five years, covering Fiscal Years 2015-2019.

It is a joint strategy of the three WBG institutions – the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – and will build on their respective strengths and areas of expertise. The new strategy is being designed to support the development priorities of the Government of Pakistan that contribute to the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in Pakistan. The WBG’s programs in Pakistan will be aligned to achieve these goals.

Consultation sessions were held throughout the country, discussing the country’s development landscape, key challenges and opportunities in a changing global context where both private capital and Official Donor Assistance are shrinking, technology, innovation, and interconnectivity are driving development solutions; citizens’ active engagement in development processes is increasing; and mitigating risks associated with climate change is coming out to be at the forefront of the development agenda.

With these major global trends framing the discussions, the process of developing the strategy has been participatory and a diverse range of stakeholders and clients in Pakistan have been consulted. Beginning in July 2013 and lasting through January 2014, these consultations were conducted in various forms – in face-to-face meetings, by mail, as well as online – and locations in Islamabad on national and regional development priorities and in Lahore, Quetta, Karachi, and Peshawar on provincial-level priorities. Sessions were conducted in Peshawar for both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

During the consultations process over 30 meetings, the WBG team met with over 400 individuals, from civil society organizations, media representatives, parliamentarians, political leaders, Chief Ministers and cabinet members, civil servants, academics, think tanks, youth groups, the private sector, and other local and international development partners.

Along with this, the World Bank Group commissioned a Client Satisfaction Survey (Presentation) (Executive Summary), conducted by Gallup Pakistan, and a short survey on its Pakistan Facebook page, to which 700 and 3013 people respectively responded.

Details of key priorities identified at the national, provincial and regional level are in the reports below. There were some common messages and themes across various groups of stakeholders: Tackling the energy crisis with low-cost generation options like hydro-power and improving access to community-led small-scale off-grid and renewable energy sources for remote areas of Balochistan and FATA.

Fostering entrepreneurship and access to finance, increasing economic opportunities and productively engaging youth and women. Improving social service delivery, particularly investing in education and health and focusing on women and children. Addressing inequity in all shapes and forms (with special attention to lagging regions and vulnerable group. Combating climate change and improving water management – disaster preparedness and recovery support, storage dams, modern irrigation techniques, improving availability and quality of drinking water.

Engaging with local communities, especially women and youth, enhancing economic growth and human development and partnerships with the private sector was considered essential for reaching the development goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity.

There were some unique features in priorities among the provinces and regions, reflecting the different development contexts and needs. Punjab’s focus is on energy and improving the investment climate to attract the private sector, while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, improving the security situation and restoring peace were identified as foremost priorities to create conducive conditions for economic and social progress. In Balochistan, water scarcity came out as a major concern. For FATA, governance and constitutional reforms and bringing the region at par with the rest of the country were identified as crucial to achieving development results. Energy, economy, education and youth skills enhancement, revenue mobilization, restructuring of state-owned enterprises; and climate change were highlighted as the top priorities at the federal / national level.