Officials reiterated the development bank’s earlier commitment following five days of hectic parleys in Islamabad, led by the ADB’s Vice President.
As the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Shixin Chen concluded his five-day long visit to Islamabad, he reiterated the bank’s commitment to support Pakistan’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The visiting ADB delegation met with Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the bank’s ongoing and emerging areas of support. Member of his cabinet of ministers also attended the meetings.
The meetings were complemented by a demonstration visit to the National Power Control Centre in Islamabad where the delegation was briefed about the country’s power load management system. ADB is expected to finance the expansion plan of this complex.
This comes in the middle of political turmoil in the country that threatens the stability of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. Interestingly, this also comes ahead of the two-day 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
An obsession with PPP?
ADB has committed over $36 billion in loans, grants, and other financing instruments to Pakistan since its establishment in 1966. The finances were mainly directed towards food security, social services, infrastructure development, energy generation and transmission and strengthening of the country’s transport network.
“As one of Pakistan’s largest development partners, ADB has taken swift actions to support Pakistan’s vaccination and social protection efforts, and external financing requirements,” Vice President Shixin Chen said in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added, “We will continue to work with the government, private sector, and other partners to further develop green, resilient, and quality infrastructure; enact reforms; and strengthen key sectors vital to the country’s growth.”
A statement issued by the bank highlighted ADB’s assistance to the country, helping it to improve macroeconomic management and resilience, and infrastructure and urban sector investments that supported rural connectivity and urban services.
“The bank’s support for public–private partnerships and improved access to finance has boosted competitiveness and private sector development,” it added. ADB is a proponent of the public–private partnerships or PPP model of service provisions, though there are not many successful examples of PPP arrangements in the SouthAsian region.
“Going forward, ADB will support an enabling environment for digital transformation through policy improvements and strengthening public institutions and relevant infrastructure,” the statement read.
Image: Wikimedia — Asian Development Bank, Mandaluyong, Philippines