Overview of Australia's aid program to Pakistan

How we are helping

2014/15 Bilateral Outcome
$65.6 million

2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$39.4 million

2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$55.7 million

The Australian Government is providing an estimated $55.7 million in total ODA to Pakistan in 2015-16. This includes an estimated $39.4 million in bilateral funding to Pakistan managed by DFAT.

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 economic prosperity, and promote sustainable, equitable development.

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 practices and other health issues, such as polio. 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, stability and governance 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, and improvements to agricultural productivity, water resources management and industry.

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, stability and governance. 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 2014-15, Australia’s aid program to Pakistan achieved the following results:

48,000 women and men working in agriculture increased their income through improved technologies and practices.

Our aid catalysed USD277,000 in private sector investments to develop pro-poor value chains, and USD249,000 worth of agricultural exports (chillies) facilitated.

Supported 118,000 children (including 62,000 girls) to undertake basic education and 4,000 teachers (including 1,800 women) were trained to improve learning outcomes.

An additional 6,021 births were conducted by a skilled birth attendant.

Over 1,493 women survivors of domestic violence accessed critical support services.

Our changing program

Following the release of the 2015-16 aid budget and consultations with development partners, we have consolidated investments while maintaining a focus on the strategic priorities of the Australian Government’s aid policy, articulated through the Pakistan program Aid Investment Plan. In line with Australia’s commitment to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth, we will increase our focus on aid for trade from 10 per cent in 2013-14 to an estimated 28 per cent in 2017-18. Australia will work closely with the Government of Pakistan to improve its trade environment especially its connection to regional markets.

We are withdrawing from governance as a discrete sector. Instead, all of our continuing investments in specific sectors address necessary institutional and policy reforms within and by key partner agencies.

We have consolidated investments in education and health to fund single large investments where we believe we can have the greatest impact. In education, Australia will continue to support transformative reforms at all levels of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province education system in partnership with the United Kingdom.  Other Australian investments in the sector have not been renewed following their natural end. The total number of new Australia Award scholarships has reduced from 60 in 2014-15 to approximately 20 in 2015-16 while we have increased the numbers of targeted short-courses in areas of strong demand.

In health, Australia has repositioned its investments to better align with the Government of Pakistan’s focus on improving nutrition outcomes. Australia is already a lead donor in this sector with a $40 million investment to support provincial governments address poor nutrition levels especially targeted at women and girls. Australia will conclude a prevention of blindness project earlier, this financial year, and not renew its maternal child health initiatives beyond their natural end. In line with Australia’s Health for Development strategy, we will consider opportunities to support responses to health security threats as they arise.

Australia will continue to support Pakistan to respond to humanitarian emergencies as needs arise rather than through annual allocations.

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).