Mr. Zhang met with Finance Minister Mr. Asad Umar, Planning and Development Minister Mr. Khusro Bakhtiar, Education Minister Mr. Shafqat Mehmood, Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, as well as other government officials and development partners.
In his meetings, Mr. Zhang congratulated the new administration on assuming office and noted the government’s “100-day agenda” that prioritizes revitalizing economic growth, transforming governance, and revolutionizing social services.
“ADB and Pakistan have a more than 50-year history of strong partnership,” said Mr. Zhang. “We are committed to deepening our cooperation with the new government and supporting its development agenda to bring prosperity to the people of Pakistan.”
ADB Vice-President Mr. Wencai Zhang (left) with Pakistan Finance Minister Mr. Asad Umar (right). Source: ADB)Under the current country partnership strategy (CPS), 2015–2019, and the country operations business plan, 2018–2020, ADB is focused on ensuring high, sustained, and inclusive growth for Pakistan. ADB plans to significantly increase the country’s sovereign operations to USD7.1 billion over 3 years. Along with its continued focus on energy, infrastructure development, and institutional reforms, ADB is also reengaging in education and health, and further strengthening social safety net through income support program.
Mr. Zhang noted the country’s economic growth momentum in recent years, driven by domestic demand and improvements in security, energy supply, and public infrastructure projects. However, the widening current account and fiscal deficits are key challenges to the economy. He stressed the importance of economic stability and structural reforms, and offered ADB’s support in job creation and exports, private sector development, and institution reforms.
Pakistan is an important member of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) to which ADB is extending programmatic support to deepen regional economic integration. Ahead of the CAREC Ministerial Conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in November, Mr. Zhang said ADB is willing to support Pakistan in developing economic corridors within the framework of CAREC and ADB’s Strategy 2030.
“ADB will help Pakistan upgrade its transport networks and trade facilitation with neighboring countries and transform the physical connectivity gains into economic gains through the promotion and development of economic corridors and special economic zones,” he said.
ADB has committed over USD32 billion in project and technical assistance to Pakistan as of September 30th 2018./.