AfDB grants $ 603 million to strengthen Pakistan’s social protection programs

The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday approved a results-based loan program of $ 603 million to strengthen and expand social protection programs in Pakistan.

Using conditional cash transfers, the program will support the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction strategy, according to an AfDB statement received here on Wednesday.

Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Program, the ADB would provide a regular loan of $ 600 million and a grant of $ 3 million from the Asian Development Fund, and administer a grant of $ 24 million from the Foundation. Education Above All.

“The program marks a significant shift in AfDB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan, in line with Ehsaas’ priorities,” said AfDB Managing Director for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.

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“AfDB support will shift from unconditional cash transfers that provide income support to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional cash transfers for education, health services and nutritional supplies that will help reduce intergenerational poverty through the development of human capital, ”Zhukov added.

The program supports Ehsaas’ goal of expanding cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents from poor families, especially girls, and d ” improve health and nutrition services for poor women, adolescent girls and children.

It also aims to initiate the coverage of accelerated learning programs at the primary education level for out-of-school children of advanced age through conditional cash transfers.

In addition, the program supports improving the implementation and fiduciary capacity of Pakistan’s social protection programs.

This will build on previous AfDB support to further improve complaint resolution, risk management, financial management, procurement, monitoring and evaluation, and management information systems, functions. which help strengthen internal controls.

AfDB financial assistance to minimize the impacts of climate change

Pakistan is prone to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards including floods, heat waves and droughts which disproportionately impact the poor and vulnerable.

By leveraging resources from the Asian Development Climate Adaptation Fund, the program will help identify and integrate appropriate climate resilience measures, such as vulnerability mapping and early warning systems.

“ADB is a long-standing and trusted partner. This program is the result of years of engagement with the AfDB and other partners and focuses on areas where we believe the bank can have the most impact. This is a key priority under the government’s Ehsaas strategy, ”the press release said, citing the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Social Protection and Poverty Reduction, Dr Sania Nishtar.

Read more: AfDB to provide huge funds for Ehsaas

“This program inspires parents to send their children to school, especially girls, and will help provide specialized nutritious foods and conditional cash transfers to children and mothers in districts of Pakistan who need them the most,” she added.

Pakistan is a founding member of the AfDB. Since 1966, the AfDB has committed more than $ 36 billion to promote inclusive economic growth and improve the country’s infrastructure, energy and food security, transport networks, and urban and social services.

Courtesy: APP

Joel C. Hicks