Volume 22 Issue 5, May 2018


What has been the role of the Asian Development Bank in Pakistan's development?
The ADB mainly works with the Government of Pakistan to address the country’s development needs for a wide range of sectors including energy, transport, agriculture, urban infrastructure and services, public sector management and finance.
Pakistan is a founding member of the ADB. Since 1966, the ADB has approved $32.1 billion in project assistance for Pakistan to strengthen the country’s key infrastructure, social services and economic growth.

Under the country partnership strategy, 2015–2019 and the country operations business plan, 2018-2020, the ADB is committed to ensuring high, sustained and inclusive growth for Pakistan. The new business plan shows that the country’s sovereign operations will be increased significantly to $7.1 billion over the next 3 years. Along with its continued focus on energy, infrastructure and institutional reforms, the ADB will re-engage in education and health.

The ADB continues to work with the government and other development partners as well as the private sector to stimulate private sector investment in Pakistan, through the reform of public sector enterprises, by generating long-term finance for infrastructure, and by facilitating public–private partnerships.

What measures is the ADB taking to revive the power sector in Pakistan?
The ADB is the leading partner in developing Pakistan’s energy sector. We are working with the public as well as private sector to strengthen energy supply in hydro and coal-fired power plants, expand transmission and distribution systems, implement energy-efficiency programmes and clean-energy initiatives and support sector reforms. We believe that a reliable supply of power is indeed critical to achieving Pakistan’s economic growth targets.

The ADB is also assisting Pakistan to improve its power transmission and distribution systems. The transmission and distribution network has been rehabilitated and new capacity has been added to ensure reliable high-quality power for industrial, commercial, agricultural and domestic customers. We are continuing our efforts to enhance the performance of this vital sector.

What part can the ADB play in building a better relationship between the South Asian countries and the wider region?
The ADB attaches great importance to regional cooperation among member countries. Over the years, an important aspect of our development strategy has been regional integration and cooperation.

With the rapid economic expansion in the surrounding countries in South and Central Asia, there is a huge opportunity for Pakistan to emerge as a centre of trade and commerce and achieve higher levels of economic growth.

The ADB provides the secretariat for the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) which has mobilized more than $30 billion of investments since it was set up in 2001. Over a third of this amount, or $10.5 billion, has been financed by the ADB and the rest by member governments and other development partners.

The CAREC 2030 strategy envisages scaling up and broadening CAREC’s mandate, including supporting regional economic and financial stability and regional initiatives in the areas of tourism, agriculture and water resources, and health and education. At the same time, CAREC will maintain focus and its comparative advantage in the existing priority areas of transport, energy, trade and economic corridors development. CAREC also seeks to strengthen linkages with other regional cooperation programmes including the Belt and Road Initiative.

What proactive role is the ADB playing in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and what proposals can it table to make the project more feasible?
The ADB is supporting Pakistan in developing the proposed economic corridors also within the framework of CAREC and ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy. The ADB is also extending support in scoping and analytical work, development of transport master plan and other requirements as needed.

What is the potential for the TAPI pipeline and to what extent will ADB lend support to the initiative?
Yes, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline is another important initiative that the ADB has been supporting as a secretariat and transection adviser. We believe that the partnership will bring about economic integration and prosperity in the region by providing a sustainable gas supply to growing economies in the region.
In this regard, we have helped establish the TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL) and select Turkmengaz as consortium leader; and helped finalize the Shareholders and Investment Agreements.

Detailed engineering and route surveys, environmental and social safeguard studies and procurement and financing activities are being conducted. Construction is estimated to take up to 3 years.

TPCL will build, own and operate the TAPI pipeline, which once completed, will transport up to 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan for the next 30 years. The pipeline stretches about 1,600 kilometres from the Afghan/Turkmen border to the Pakistan/India border.

As per ADB, a business-as-usual approach to climate change could be disastrous for South Asian countries. What is the way out?
Yes indeed, the region is highly vulnerable to climate change. Natural hazards have resulted in significant loss of life, economic damage and the reversal of development gains. These events severely impact the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable, resulting in mass migration, trade and commerce disruption, damage to infrastructure and services and market destabilization.

ADB recently provided a $200 million loan to strengthen Pakistan’s disaster risk resilience including support to the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to reduce the country’s vulnerability to disasters from natural hazards and climate variability and change. We are working with the government and partners to enhance Pakistan’s financial preparedness to deal with future disasters and weather events.

Dealing with water issues is also of utmost importance for the country in this context. The ADB is assisting the government to rehabilitate the Indus Basin Irrigation System. Work is being carried out to upgrade key barrages and canals in the Punjab province, which will improve farm incomes through increased productivity and will also greatly enhance food security and climate change resilience.

Have the major global economies (e.g. G7 countries) monopolized the decision-making system at the ADB, IMF and the World Bank?
That’s not true. The ADB’s mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people. The ADB in partnership with member governments, independent specialists and other financial institutions, is focused on delivering projects in developing member countries that create economic and development impact. Our clients are our member governments, who are also our shareholders. In addition, we provide direct assistance to private enterprises of developing member countries through equity investments and loans. The ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world's capital markets. We also rely on our members' contributions, retained earnings from our lending operations and the repayment of loans. We also provide loans and grants from a number of special funds.


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