Overview of Australia’s aid program to Pakistan
2013/14 Estimated Outcome: $75.7 million
2014/15 Budget Estimate: $79.0 million
Australia has strong interest in Pakistan given its size, economic potential, strategic position and influence on regional stability. Australia and Pakistan enjoy long-standing friendly relations underpinned by strong people-to-people links. Australia is committed to supporting Pakistan in its efforts to build economic prosperity and enhance human development.
Australian aid to Pakistan has grown considerably in the last decade. It is now Australia's tenth largest bilateral aid program. Australia is, however, a mid-sized donor in Pakistan's large economy—in 2012, Australian assistance to Pakistan represented 4.36 per cent of ODA, and 0.04 per cent of GDP.
Australia's development assistance in Pakistan promotes economic growth, poverty reduction and human development, including for women and girls. Australia's expertise in agriculture, water and education is particularly valued.
Pakistan faces immense development challenges and is a complex operating environment. At almost 200 million people, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and is expected to grow to almost 300 million people by 2050. It needs to create 1.5 million new jobs a year to prevent a rise in unemployment. These jobs will only come from strong economic growth, which in turn needs a healthy, educated workforce. The economy has not fully recovered from the aftermath of the global financial crisis, with only modest economic growth, persistently high inflation and a rise in formal unemployment. Insecurity continues to undermine Pakistan’s stability and development, particularly in provinces bordering Afghanistan where economic and human development indicators are amongst the poorest in the country.
In 2013, Pakistan was categorised as a Low Human Development country, ranking 146 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. Five out of eight Millennium Development Goals were off track. Only 57 per cent of children were enrolled in primary school and only 50 per cent completed Grade 5. It is estimated that 30 per cent of men and 53 per cent of women are illiterate. Nationally, only 40 per cent of girls complete primary school, and in Balochistan province the girls' completion rate is 15 per cent.
Since 2003, health outcomes for Pakistan's people have improved but at a slower rate than neighbouring countries. Women's and children's health is a particular concern, with indicators on maternal and child health lagging behind other countries in the region. Malnutrition indicators for Pakistani women and children are among the highest in the world, and nutritional stunting among children under the age of 5 (43.7 per cent) has remained largely unchanged since 1965. This has a draining effect on the economy, and some estimates suggest malnutrition costs Pakistan 3 per cent of its GDP annually.
Pakistan has significant humanitarian needs—since 2000 there have been 88 natural disasters, which have killed 81,000 people, affected over 52 million and caused almost US$24 billion worth of damage. Better management of natural disasters is a prerequisite to sustaining growth and human capital gains.
Australia's aid program to Pakistan has two strategic priorities: Generating sustainable economic growth and employment through increased trade and investment, and improvements to agricultural productivity, water resources management and industry; and; investing in Pakistan's people through education and health.
Generating sustainable economic growth and employment
Australian aid will engage the public and private sectors to address constraints to sustainable economic growth and job creation. Our aid will help Pakistan improve agricultural productivity, including through improved water management practices, increase the value of agricultural products and improve access to markets for those products.
Generating sustainable economic growth and employment in Pakistan
Investing in Pakistan’s people through education and health
Accelerating progress in education and health services will enable Pakistan to make faster progress in economic growth and job creation and contribute to Pakistan’s stability. Australia will continue providing support to provincial governments to deliver basic health and education services, with a particular focus on women and girls.
Investing in Pakistan's people through education and health
- More than 13,000 cataract surgeries were performed and more than 4,500 children have been screened for eye diseases.
- More than 209,800 pregnant and breast-feeding women were screened for malnutrition and more than 41,400 women have been provided micro nutrient supplements and iron folate tablets.
- More than 8,000 community midwives were trained and more than 4,800 have been deployed to support women and children in their communities.
- 9,200 health care workers have been trained in improved management of newborn and childhood illnesses and maternal health.
- 114 long and short-term Australia Awards were awarded to Pakistani students in 2013.
- 254 early childhood education classrooms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan were refurbished for use by more than 67,000 children.
- 7,300 teachers were trained in early childhood education principles, classroom management and disability-inclusive education in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan.
- Supported the completion of 445 community projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, repairing key infrastructure damaged by the 2010 floods such as roads and bridges, benefiting 89,182 households.
- Provided agriculture assistance through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research that improved farming practices and increased farmers’ incomes in mango, citrus and dairy production.
- 426,000 election officials were trained in election management in preparation for national and presidential elections in May 2013.
- Supported the deployment of a nine-member electoral observation team by the Commonwealth Secretariat to monitor and report on the national elections.
- Australian support provided 395,848 people with life-saving assistance in conflict and crisis situations.
Generating sustainable economic growth and employment in Pakistan
In recent years Pakistan has experienced a succession of exogenous shocks—natural disasters and ongoing regional instability—and deterioration in revenue collection, energy sector performance, governance and social indicators. Despite this, history shows that Pakistan can sustain periods of accelerated growth. Achieving higher growth rates will depend on Pakistan policymakers’ capacity to address the structural and emerging constraints holding Pakistan back.
Pakistan needs to better harness its export sector as an engine of growth. This may involve producing and exporting a wider variety of goods, including higher-value goods, to existing and new international markets. This will require strengthening trade policies and trade related institutions and undertaking necessary regulatory reform to enhance export competitiveness. There is tremendous potential for greater regional connectivity given that South Asia is the least integrated region measured by investment levels and intra-regional trade, and has the second highest intra-regional trade costs.
To sustain growth Pakistan should consider diversifying its exports and accelerating agricultural output. Agriculture accounts for about 25 per cent of GDP, 70 per cent of exports and 50 per cent of the labour force. Agricultural productivity is adversely affected by water scarcity. In addition to improving productivity, Pakistan’s trade policy architecture could be strengthened to foster export and rural diversification, business competitiveness and revenue. The sooner Pakistan integrates into the regional market, the faster its businesses will become competitive overall and benefit from high growth rates of its large neighbours.
Australia will engage the public and private sectors to address constraints to sustainable economic growth and job creation. Australian is also looking at opportunities to strengthen the Ministry of Commerce’s ability to promote trade and investment, modernise customs systems to improve trade, and support Small to Medium Enterprises (particularly women and youths) to expand. Our aid will help Pakistan improve agricultural productivity, including through improved water management practices, increase the value of agricultural products and improve access to markets for those products.
The Livelihood Strengthening Program
$10.55 million, 2010-2014
The Livelihood Strengthening Program aims to improve and enhance the rural livelihoods of vulnerable communities in targeted districts of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and conduct early recovery activities in a further seven neighbouring districts. Australia's implementing partner is the Sarhad Rural Support Programme.
Agriculture Sector Linkages Program II
$13.75 million, 2010-2015
The Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) is delivered by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and aims to build Pakistan’s technical capacity to improve agricultural productivity and increase the incomes of Pakistan farmers.
Phase II of the program will focus on developing the mango, citrus and dairy components started in Punjab and Sindh provinces under ASLP’s first phase, and increasing incomes of poor smallholder farmers and expanding market system interventions into Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Australian Assistance to Agriculture Development in Balochistan Border Areas
$12.88 million, 2012-2016
The Australian Assistance to Agriculture in Balochistan Border Areas (AusABBA) program aims to promote sustainable development among marginal and small-scale producers as well as food traders and exporters, to reduce poverty and address economic inequalities. The project targets six districts of western Balochistan incorporating Chagai, Kech, Kharan, Nushki, Panjgur and Washuk. AusABBA is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The Market Development Facility
$9.26 million, 2013-2017
The Market Development Facility aims to create additional jobs and increase income for poor women and men by partnering with the private sector to stimulate investment, business innovation and regulatory reform. The Market Development Facility has been implemented successfully in Fiji and Timor-Leste and was established in Pakistan in 2013.
Pakistan Water Resource Management
$4 million, 2013-2016
Implemented by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the program aims to help the Government of Pakistan enhance its capability in river basin planning and to develop a water management model of the Indus Basin.
Pakistan Ending Violence Against Women Program
$7.46 million, 2014-2017
The program will deliver services for women affected by violence, including shelters, counselling, legal aid and medical services, as well as income generation support to help survivors reintegrate back into their communities. Support will be provided to strengthen the capacity of police, medical institutions and the judiciary to respond to cases of violence so women can access support without stigma or fear. The program will engage with men, women, youth, religious and community leaders to educate them about the negative impacts that tolerating violence against women has on communities and individuals.
Investing in Pakistan's people through education and health
Accelerating progress in education and health services will enable Pakistan to make faster progress in economic growth and job creation and contribute to Pakistan’s stability. Businesses need more productive, healthy and educated workers to grow. While some human development indicators have improved in the last decade, they still lag behind countries at a similar income and many of Pakistan’s neighbours.
Pakistan ranks 146 of 187 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index. 45 per cent of Pakistan’s adult population is illiterate and over 5.5 million children are out of school. Based on current estimates, over 125,000 Pakistan children are blind and 4 million suffer from refractive errors. 44 per cent of children under 5 are stunted due to malnutrition. This has a draining effect on the economy with some estimates suggesting malnutrition costs Pakistan 3 per cent of its GDP annually. Malnutrition indicators for Pakistan, especially women and children, are among the highest in the world. Pakistan has the highest rate of infant mortality in South Asia and highest rate of stillbirths in the world; only 49 per cent of births are attended by a skilled medical professional.
Australia is continuing to support provincial governments to deliver basic health and education services, with a particular focus on women and girls, and will test opportunities for greater private sector involvement in service provision. Australia’s assistance will largely target the first eight years of life with a focus on maternal, newborn and child healthcare; avoidable blindness; nutrition and improving early childhood and basic education. This is aimed at supporting Pakistan's efforts to develop the next generation of women and men who are best able to contribute to Pakistan’s economic prosperity and stability.
Given the immense humanitarian needs in Pakistan, we plan to continue support for humanitarian responses.
Education Development and Improvement Program in Gilgit-Baltistan
$12.47 million, 2010-2015
Aims to improve the accessibility, quality and equity of education in Gilgit-Baltistan by increasing enrolment and retention rates in schools, including previously out of school children, improving leadership and governance of stakeholders, and increasing the participation of communities, especially women, and the government in the management and general life of the school community.
Early Childhood Development Project in Balochistan
$4.75 million, 2010-2015
Improves access to and quality of early childhood education (ECE), particularly for girls and poor communities, in Balochistan province. The program achieves this through training teachers and government officials, providing seminars to parents on supporting education, improving the curriculum for early childhood education, improving classroom infrastructure to enhance access for children and providing learning materials for early childhood classrooms.
Education Sector Development Programme Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
$8.1 million, 2011-2015
Supports the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa implement their Capacity Development Strategy with a focus on teacher training, improved teacher placement, and better management of schools by Parent Teacher Committees and government officials.
Early Childhood Care and Education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
$18.44 million, 2011-2015
Improves education outcomes and access for children in government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by increasing learning and development opportunities and improving the transition from early childhood care and education to primary school for children aged 3-9. This is undertaken by providing support to targeted schools to run early childhood care and education classes; training teachers in early childhood care and education; building the capacity of the district education office to understand and implement early childhood education; strengthening community outreach to improve access and support for early childhood education and encourage policy advocacy for wider adoption of early childhood care and education principles.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan
$64.6 million, 2012-2016
Assists the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa implement its Education Sector Plan through Sector Budget Support to the elementary and secondary education budget; and refurbishment/construction for school facilities.
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Program
$30.5 million, 2007-2015
This program is a delegated cooperation agreement with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). Our support strengthens national health policies, frameworks and systems for improved maternal, newborn and child health.
Support to Maternal and Child Health in the Border Areas
$13.61 million, 2012-2016
This program supports the Government of Balochistan to improve health management systems in three districts; train staff; and raise awareness and advocate for maternal, newborn and child health services in Balochistan.
Pakistan-Australia Sub-Specialty Eye Care Project (PASEC)
$5.52 million, 2013-2017
Strengthens Pakistan’s National Eye Care Program and the capacity of the public health sector to substantially improve access to and quality of paediatric and diabetic related eye care services particularly for more vulnerable groups such as women and children.
World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Nutrition
$41 million, 2013-2017
Enables Pakistan to scale-up and sustain an effective response to malnutrition by supporting provincial governments to prepare and implement nutrition plans, and provide nutrition services (such as nutrition supplements) that are known to reduce malnutrition in women and children.
Citizen Engagement for Social Service Delivery (CESSD) III
$19.27 million, 2012-2016
CESSD works with local Social Service Committees and local governments to strengthen the management of basic social service delivery, focusing on education, health and safe drinking water in eleven districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan
$21.53 million, 2012-2015
Helps restore damaged infrastructure, improve local and provincial service delivery and support the livelihoods of populations affected by floods and conflict, and is contributing to the building of stronger institutions in FATA, KP and Balochistan and trust between citizens and the state.
Support for Humanitarian Operations
$3 million, 2013-2014
The United Nations reports that one million people are currently displaced by conflict in north-west Pakistan. Ongoing instability prevents these people from returning home. The World Food Programme provides basic food rations to these displaced people in collaboration with donors, other UN agencies, NGOs and the Government of Pakistan.
2013 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Global Appeal for Pakistan
$4.1 million, 2013-2014
In 2013 support from Australia and other donors helped the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide protection and basic needs support (such as shelter, health, education, water and sanitation services) for 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 1 million people internally displaced by conflict and refugee host communities.