Pakistan Border trade

Pakistan Poverty and Development


According to World Bank statistics, 31.1% of the Pakistani population live below the poverty line (World Bank 2018, estimated for 2019). With a rapidly growing population, more and more young people have to fear for their existence. The main causes named include low growth and high inflation. Pakistan’s position in the Human Development Index is 150th out of 189 countries (2018). People in rural areas are particularly affected by poverty. Approx. 4.7 million families working in agriculture (approx. 33 million people) do not have their own land. Redistribution of wealth and money, such as land reform, is due to elitist / oligarchic structuresa highly political and controversial issue in Pakistan. This makes it difficult for these people to escape from poverty. There is still a system of “debt bondage” that binds families to one employer for generations.

In cooperation with UNDP, Pakistan is endeavoring to fight poverty and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more quickly with a view to all segments of society, including marginalized groups such as women. The Pakistani government operates within the national framework of the SDGs, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) II and the New Growth Framework of Pakistan of the Planning Commission (PC) in Pakistan. However, progress with regard to the SDGs and thus also the fight against poverty is rated as insufficient. Prime Minister Imran Khan is sticking to his plan to eradicate poverty in Pakistan – but money is tight. The role of the army in the economy of the country and the responsibility for the poor population are among the explosive political issues.

Development cooperation

According to internetsailors, Pakistani-German development cooperation (DC) has existed since 1961, ie for 58 years; Pakistan is one of the first German partner countries of the BMZ. The last federal government classified Pakistan as a so-called “anchor country”. The Anchor Country Study (2008) on Pakistan has worked out why and to what extent Pakistan is to be seen as a strategically important partner in the global community from a development and peace policy perspective. Pakistan is considered to be one of the most demanding partner countries in German development cooperation and is faced with special challenges.

Government negotiations on development cooperation between Germany and Pakistan take place regularly. German government funds for development cooperation with Pakistan amount to 83.87 million euros (2017/2018).

The following main areas of cooperation were agreed:

  • Good governance
  • Sustainable economic development
  • Energy / energy efficiency

In addition to the above-mentioned priorities, Germany will support Pakistan in improving basic medical care by 2020. The content of the engagement includes the development of quality standards for the commercial health sector, the introduction of a health insurance system, the establishment of a nationwide blood banking system and the training and further education of health managers and medical staff. Programs for reproductive health and family planning as well as for combating polio will also continue.

Another funding area is aimed at protecting the country’s scarce natural resources and disaster risk reduction. Measures to preserve biodiversity and protect the forest should make a contribution to climate protection.

For 30 years, German development cooperation in Pakistan provided support in the field of basic education. In the course of the reform of the textbook policy, new educational curricula and modern textbooks were developed nationwide. Even if these are not yet used in every school, the quality of the teaching has improved significantly. One of the great successes of this 30-year collaboration is that more than nine million children have benefited directly from GIZ’s educational programs. The Pakistani government is now responsible for continuing the program.

The regional focus of German development cooperation is on the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, i.e. the north-west of Pakistan. At the same time, cooperation with the central government in Islamabad is maintained. Individual measures were and are also being carried out in Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab and in “Azad Jammu Kashmir”. On behalf of BMZ, GIZ is active with its own structures and staff in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas; the headquarters of GIZ’s Pakistan office is in Islamabad.

German development cooperation with Pakistan is also heavily influenced by non-governmental agencies. Church aid organizations, political foundations and non-governmental organizations often use BMZ funds to carry out various programs in the areas of democratization, strengthening civil society, human rights and peace.

The various organizations offer insights into the current cooperation with Pakistan:

  • Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES) -Pakistan
  • Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSS) -Pakistan
  • Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBS) -Pakistan
  • Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNS) -Pakistan
  • Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Regional Office South Asia
  • German World Hunger Aid

German development cooperation pursues a conflict-sensitive and crisis-preventive approach. This refers to the “Post-Crisis Needs Assessment” (PCNA) as a common framework for action by the Pakistani government and donors (Asian Development Bank, European Union, United Nations and World Bank). In addition to bilateral development cooperation, Germany participates in multilateral instruments such as the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Khyber Pashtunkhwa, tribal areas and Baluchistan. Germany is one of the medium-sized donors in Pakistan.

Turkey, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, France and others follow at a considerable distance from the major bilateral donors USA, Great Britain, Japan and China. The European Union is also in the middle among the multilateral donors. The OECD provides current graphics on this topic.

Pakistan Border trade

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