Rome, 14 November 2017 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Pakistan have signed an agreement today to improve livelihoods, living conditions and income-generating capacity for 320,000 poor rural households in Pakistan. The programme will be implemented nationwide.
The financial agreement for the National Poverty Graduation Programme was signed today by Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD, and Nadeem Riyaz, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Italy.
The total cost of the programme is US$149.8 million of which IFAD is providing $82.6 million. The programme is aligned with Pakistan’s policies on poverty reduction and social protection, notably with the Government’s Vision 2025 – committing to halve poverty by 2025.
“The programme includes social mobilization, livelihood development and financial inclusion components. It combines support for immediate needs with a longer-term plan, shifting households out of extreme poverty by providing access to a package of assets that include social services, vocational training and interest-free loans,” said Hubert Boirard, Country Programme Manager, IFAD.
Based on the Pakistani government’s national poverty scorecard, 30 per cent of the total population (59 million people) have been defined as poor and 61 per cent of the population lives in rural areas where income levels are low and employment opportunities are limited.
The new programme, covering 17 districts, will focus on the “ultra-poor” segment of the population residing in rural areas. The programme will aim to provide a combination of safety nets and sustainable livelihood opportunities. Participants will receive support through skills development, business literacy training and access to credit. The programme will also help to promote economic empowerment by offering men and women equal access to participating in profitable economic activities.
A specialized United Nations agency and international financial institution, IFAD has financed 27 rural development programmes and projects in Pakistan since 1978, with a total IFAD investment of $730 million or $2.51 billion when co-funding from the Pakistan government and others are included. These projects have directly benefitted more than 2.4 million rural households (approximately 17 million people).