Overview of Australia's aid program to Pakistan

How we are helping

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$50.7 million

2017-18 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$39.4 million

2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$47.1 million

Australia has strong interests in Pakistan given its size, economic potential and strategic position in South Asia, and is committed to supporting Pakistan to build its economic prosperity, and promote sustainable, equitable development.

The Australian Government is providing an estimated $47.1 million in total ODA to Pakistan in 2017-18. This includes an estimated $39.4 million funding through the Pakistan bilateral country program to managed by DFAT.

Pakistan faces a number of challenges to realising its real economic potential. Economic growth is constrained by energy and infrastructure deficits, skills shortages, regional instability and other barriers to trade. Pakistan's trade continues to lag behind the rest of South Asia, at just 31 per cent of GDP. With the population set to double by 2050, Pakistan needs to create approximately 1.5 million jobs a year to absorb the large number of young people entering the labour market each year. Increasing Pakistan's female workforce participation from 25 per cent is critical. A job-enhancing and inclusive agriculture sector is central to Pakistan's economic future. However, the agriculture sector continues to be undermined by weak markets, production inefficiencies, land ownership issues, unregulated labour conditions, adverse weather conditions, and water shortages.

Pakistan's access to a strong and healthy workforce is affected by high malnutrition rates, poor water and sanitation, and maternal and child health issues. At the same time, improving Pakistan's education outcomes and increasing access to education is important for Pakistan's human development. It is estimated that 45 per cent of Pakistan's adult population is illiterate and over 5.3 million children do not attend school, of which 57 per cent are girls. Weak public health and education systems compound these issues.

Insecurity continues to undermine Pakistan's stability and development, particularly in provinces bordering Afghanistan where economic and human development indicators are amongst the poorest in the country. Frequent and devastating natural disasters further impede development outcomes and economic growth.

In this context, Australia's aid program promotes sustainable, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction in Pakistan, through two strategic objectives as outlined in our Pakistan Aid Investment Plan. All our aid investments emphasise support for women's empowerment, good governance and stability in Pakistan.

Objective 1: Generating sustainable growth and employment

Australian aid is engaging the public and private sectors to address constraints to sustainable and inclusive economic growth and job creation through increased trade and investment, improved agricultural productivity and market development, and water resources management.

Generating sustainable economic growth and employment in Pakistan

Objective 2: Investing in Pakistan’s people through education and health

Australia is providing support to provincial governments to deliver basic health, nutrition, and education services, with a particular focus on women and girls. Accelerating progress in education and health services will enable Pakistan to make faster progress in economic growth and job creation and contribute to Pakistan's stability.

Investing in Pakistan's people through education and health

Multi-sectoral policy priorities and approaches

Australia's support to Pakistan is underpinned by three important cross-cutting themes – women's empowerment, good governance and stability. We recognise that progress in these areas is critical to Pakistan's ability to realise its development and economic objectives. All our investments address these issues in our policy approaches and delivery.

Multi-sectoral policy priorities and approaches

Our results

In 2015-16, the key achievements of Australia's aid program to Pakistan included:

  • Drawing on Australia's world-class expertise to help Pakistan enhance agricultural productivity and expand revenue stream for poor farmers - 8,800 farmers increased their income in 2015-16.
  • Supporting the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce to promote inclusive trade and investment through strengthened policies, institutions and regulations.
  • Strengthening the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's capacity to deliver quality education - over 37,000 children supported to undertake basic education in 2015-16.
  • Supporting 300,000 children to access Vitamin A supplementation.
  • Helping 3,800 women survivors of domestic violence to access critical support services.

Our changing program

In 2015-16, we consolidated aid investments in line with the strategic priorities of the Australian Government's aid policy, articulated through the Pakistan Aid Investment Plan. Design and delivery of these planned investments remains steady following the 2017-18 budget.

We have consolidated our investments in health and education to fund single large multi-donor investments in nutrition and primary education. The total number of new Australia Award scholarships has reduced from 60 in 2014-15 to approximately 40 in 2016-17, while increasing provision of targeted short-courses in areas of strong demand.

In line with Australia's commitment to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth, we continue to focus on aid for trade - increasing investment to around a quarter of program in 2017-18. Australia will work closely with the Government of Pakistan to improve its trade environment especially its connection to regional markets.

Australia will continue to support existing gender equality and stabilisation investments, and assist Pakistan to respond to humanitarian emergencies as needs arise.

Last Updated: 22 September 2017
Fruit and vegetable market in Multan, Punjab Province, Pakistan (credit: DFAT).
UNICEF Water, Environment and Sanitation Head Andrew Parker checks the water supply to a newly-built transitional school in Arja, near Bagh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (credit: UNICEF).
A modern mango and banana farm near Mirpurkhas, Pakistan (credit: DFAT).