Pakistan, World Bank ink two financing agreements worth $500 million

ISLAMABAD-Pakistan and World Bank on Wednesday signed two financing agreements worth $500 million.
Ministry of Economic Affairs signed two financing agreements, having total funding volume of $500 million, with the World Bank for “Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project” worth $200 million and “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Accessibility Project” worth $300 million. Dr Kazim Niaz, Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs, signed the financing agreements on behalf of government of Pakistan while Najy Benhassine, Country Director, World Bank, signed the agreements on behalf of the World Bank. Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project ($200 million) is designed to enhance equitable access to, and productivity of, agricultural water and improving incomes of farmers’ particularly small and medium landholders. The project will contribute to transforming Punjab’s agriculture into a more inclusive, productive, sustainable, and market-oriented sector. The project will help the government of Punjab in addressing (i) low water access equity and high on-farm water losses; (ii) low on-farm productivity, limited crop diversification toward high value crops and away from more water-intensive crops, and low adoption of climate smart production practices and limited market opportunities for small and medium farmers. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rural Accessibility Project ($300 million) is aimed to improve safe and climate-resilient rural accessibility to schools, health facilities and markets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project interventions will help the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in (i) upgrading and rehabilitation of provincial roads, (ii) improvement of climate resilience of infrastructure, including the raising of embankments, provision of side drains, bridges, improvement of culverts, ditches, vegetation, (iii) improvement of road safety infrastructure and equipment in the vicinity of schools, health facilities and marketplaces, (iv) provision of fiber optic infrastructure to facilitate the expansion of internet connectivity and; (v) safe and affordable school journeys for girls – subsidized school transport for girls from marginalized communities. In October, 2022, Ministry of Economic Affairs had also signed three other important projects worth $690 million (including $82 million grant), with the World Bank for land management and developing housing sector in Punjab province and national level interventions in health sector to facilitate (i) improving land records; and identification of land for development, including land for housing programs in Punjab, (ii) strengthening housing institutions and systems and enhancing the quantity & quality of affordable housing supply in Punjab Province and (iii) equitable delivery and quality of essential health services at the primary health care level, in support of Universal Health Coverage in Pakistan. Dr Kazim Niaz reiterated the commitment of federal government to extend all possible support to the provincial govts in addressing their financial needs necessary to overcome the development challenges and to achieve economic growth in the country that is more inclusive and sustainable.

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