Geneva conference: Pakistan gets over $10b in funding

Pakistan can certainly claim the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’ in Geneva to be a success as the country received pledges of over $10 billion from different donors and friendly countries – more than the expected amount of $8 billion.

The event jointly co-hosted by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was held to help the country recover from last year’s catastrophic floods and improve its resilience to the ravages of climate change.

As far as the details of the pledges from the international financial institutions are concerned, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) proved to be the biggest contributor with $4.2 billion followed by $2 billion from the World Bank, $1.5 billion from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and $1 billion from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

For the countries and regional organisation like EU, Saudi Arabia topped the list with $1 billion. It comes in addition to what was announced on Tuesday as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed to study increasing the kingdom’s investments in Pakistan to $10 billion.

He also asked the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to study increasing the Saudi deposit to Pakistan’s Central Bank to reach $5 billion.

The investments in Pakistan were previously announced in August last year while the Saudi deposit to the country’s central bank was extended in December.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the directives from Crown Prince Salman – commonly known as MBS – affirms the kingdom’s position in supporting the economy of Pakistan and its people.

It comes within the framework of the existing communication between the crown prince and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the SPA added.

Last month, the SFD had extended the term for the $3 billion deposit in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) which was set to mature on December 5.

The SBP had signed an agreement with the SFD in November 2022 to receive $3 billion, to be placed in the central bank’s account with an aim to improve the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Coming back to the Geneva conference, Saudi Arabia’s $1 billion were followed by European Union €500 million, France $380 million, China $100 million, United States $100 million, Germany €84 million, Japan $77 million, Qatar $25 million, Italy €23 million, Canada $18.6 million, United Kingdom £9 million, Sweden $7.5 million, Norway $6.5 million, Denmark, $3.8 million, Netherlands €3.5 million, and Azerbaijan $2 million.

It were the unprecedented monsoon rains and resultant floods that submerged huge swathes of the country and killed more than 1,700 people, while over 33 million others suffered the impacts. That’s why Guterres repeatedly describes it as “monsoon on steroids”.

At the conference, Pakistan presented the Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Framework, calling for $16.3 billion over the next three years for the initial efforts to rebuild and improve its ability to withstand future climate shocks.

Pakistan said it should be able to cover half the cost but pleaded with the international community to fund the rest —and in the end, pledges exceeded Islamabad’s expectations.

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