Islamabad, 9 January 2023 (TDI): Dr. Kazim Niaz, Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Dr. Riina Kionka, the Ambassador of the European Union (EU), have signed agreements for three new development programmes.

The funding for these programmes will be EUR87 million from the EU to support green and inclusive economic growth in Pakistan.

The new programmes will enhance agricultural value chains, provide access to clean energy, and increase the availability of the skilled labor force with a focus on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan, and Balochistan.

The initiatives are a part of the EU’s assistance to Pakistan for rehabilitation and reconstruction following the floods.

These three programmes are a part of broader coordination efforts by the EU and its member states, which were realized through the Team Europe Initiative, and were developed in close collaboration with the federal and provincial governments.

Additionally, they support the EU Global Gateway; a strategy for advancing smart, secure, and reliable connections in the energy, transportation, and digital sectors, as well as for enhancing global health, education, and research systems.

Dr. Kazim Niaz expressed gratitude for EU assistance and further stated that “EU is the most valued development partner to Pakistan.

This is because it held a substantial grant portfolio in Pakistan wherein its focus is, in particular, on the socioeconomic development of vulnerable communities.

Clean and green energy is the yardstick for any sustainable development, EU support in this particular area is necessary for providing desired impetus to all such efforts by Pakistan.”

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He further expressed his hope that these three financing agreements would strengthen socioeconomic indicators, as the transformation of the rural economy, the availability of inexpensive energy, and the provision of crucial technical training for young people can all be extremely beneficial to underprivileged communities.

While Ambassador of the EU on her part pointed out that “Pakistan has a huge potential thanks to its people and natural resources.

The programmes we have signed today help to harness that potential by giving Pakistanis the skills to get good jobs, by helping them to use sustainable techniques for agriculture, and by providing them access to clean and green energy.”

She went on to reiterate that “Our support comes at a crucial moment, as the country is grappling with an economic crisis and people are still struggling with the effects of the terrible floods.

We hope that the three programmes signed today contribute to economic recovery in the aftermath of the floods and make Pakistan stronger and more resilient.”

KP Rural Economic Transformation (KP-RET) Project

By assisting farmers in their transition to more sustainable and profitable agriculture, creating job opportunities, and putting a special emphasis on youth and women, the programme aims to increase the income of rural households.

KP-RET is a component of a larger agricultural development programme run by the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and it will benefit rural communities most at risk thanks to EU funding.

Energy Plus Programme

It is a $30 million programme and called Energy for Climate Resilience in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It will build resilient hydropower facilities and support more effective energy use for a long-term switch to renewable energy sources.

Through a significant tree-planting programme, it will also support the more sustainable management of natural resources.

It will also improve the ability of the provincial government to make policies, with a particular emphasis on participatory planning, implementation, and monitoring in the energy and natural resource sectors.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EUR40 million)

The EU’s programme for demand-driven, sustainable economic growth builds on its long-standing assistance for Pakistan’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) market.

In the agribusiness, water, and energy sub-sectors, it will work to provide sufficiently skilled labor with an emphasis on environmentally friendly skills.

The programme will improve the effectiveness of the country’s TVET system and provide returning citizens and potential migrants with better access to skills and job opportunities.

A particular emphasis will be placed on expanding the pool of skilled female workers in the high-tech and digital industries.