Donors ‘exceed’ Pakistan’s expectations with $10bn pledges

Published January 10, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the international conference on Resilient Pakistan in Geneva on Monday (Jan 19). — PID photo
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the international conference on Resilient Pakistan in Geneva on Monday (Jan 19). — PID photo

GENEVA: Donors on Monday committed to give Pakistan over $10 billion to help it recover from last year’s devastating floods.

Officials from some 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions gathered for the meeting in Geneva as Islamabad seeks help covering around half of a total recovery bill of $16.3 billion.

According to the Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework that Pakistan presented on Monday, it will need $16.3 billion over the next three years for the initial efforts to rebuild and improve its ability to withstand climate change.

Donations pledged at the Geneva conference

Islamic Development Bank: $4.2bn
World Bank: $2bn
Asian Development Bank: $1.5bn
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: $1bn
Saudi Arabia: $1bn
France: $384m
China: $100m
US: $100m
EU: $93m
Germany: $88m
Japan: $77m
UK: $10m
Azerbaijan: $2m

Source: Figures quoted by Marriyum Aurangzeb

The government has said the country should be able to cover half the cost, but is urging the international community to pay for the rest.

WB, ADB and other lenders commit support worth $8.7bn; S. Arabia, France, US, UK, other countries to give $1.8bn

Countries appeared to heed that call, with hundreds of millions of dollars promised even before the pledging part of the conference had begun.

Financial institutions

According to Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, the highest commitment came from the Islamic Development Bank, which pledged $4.2 billion.

“I am pleased to announce that the Islamic Development Bank group, as part of contributing to the achievement of Pakis­tan’s climate resilience and development objectives, pledges a financing amount of $4.2 billion over the next three years,” Muhammad Al Jasser, president of Islamic Develop­ment Bank said in Geneva.

The World Bank promised $2bn, and emphasised the need for Pakistan to “keep spending within sustainable limits”.

“A truly resilient recovery will not be possible without additional fiscal and structural reforms,” said Martin Raiser, the World Bank’s vice president for the South Asia region.

He urged Pakistan to “address the inefficiencies that are muting investment” and to opt for “more progressive, wider-based taxation”.

In addition, the Asian Deve­lo­p­ment Bank (ADB) pledged $1.5bn to the flood recovery efforts.

Addressing the conference, ADB Vice President Shixin Chen said going forward, the ADB would reprioritize up to $1bn for climate and disaster risk reconstruction as well as resilience support over the next three years.

The key sectors of support included agriculture and natural resources, urban services, social protection, health, and public financial management, he added.

Ms Aurangzeb also announced on Twitter that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has pledged $1bn as part of the ‘build back better’ initiative for “climate resilient infrastructure & adaptation”.

Pledges from other nations

APP quoted the information minister as saying that Saudi Arabia had committed $1bn. In addition, she said China had promised $100m, while Japan had committed $77m.

A senior official from the US development agency USAID told Reuters that Washington would provide an additional $100m in funding for Pakistan’s recovery from devastating floods last year.

“I am delighted to announce that the United States is making an additional $100m commitment to Pakistan to help it recover from the devastating 2022 monster monsoon floods,” USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman told reporters on the sidelines of a major conference in Geneva.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris was ready to support Pakistan in its talks with financial institutions, as the country faces huge losses from recent floods. Speaking via video-link, he told the conference that his country would contribute 360m euros ($345m).

France will continue to provide expertise and some financial support to the country, Mr Macron said, adding that it would also provide an additional 10m euros in emergency aid.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union was contributing 500m euros towards Pakis­tan’s reconstruction, as she an­­nounced a fresh injection of 10m euros in humanitarian assistance.

She also announced an additional 10m euros, bringing total humanitarian support for Pakistan to 172m euros.

On Monday, the EU and Pakistan also agreed to an 87m euros package to further enhance this cooperation.

Britain, meanwhile, allocated over 9m pounds for the purpose.

UK Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said it would be much easier for the world to help Pakistan “if Pakistani taxpayers are seen to be playing a core part in this effort”.

Germany is providing $90m for the construction of rainwater retention basins and drainage systems. It has already pledged about $71.6m to rebuild damaged infrastructure.

Speaking at the gathering, the state secretary for Germany’s Economic Cooperation and Dev­elopment Ministry, Jochen Flas­barth, said that “this is a crisis that Pakistan cannot overcome alone.” “It is crucial that we support Pakistan not only in immediate reconstruction, but also in adapting better and sustainably to climate change,” he said.

In another tweet, Ms Aurang­zeb announced that Azerbaijan has also pledged $2m for resilient recovery and rehabilitation.

Anwar Iqbal also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2023



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