Traditional scarf with ajrak ornament. Ajrak is a special form of block printing in Pakistan.

Pakistan Influential partner country in South Asia

As a neighbour of China, India, Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistan plays a key geopolitical role for development in South Asia. The country's dynamic development and its global importance make Pakistan a significant partner for Germany's development cooperation.

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Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan

Pakistan has a population of nearly 250 million, making it the fifth most populous country in the world. A high level of population growth, weak public administration, the current economic and financial crisis, deficits with regard to the protection of human rights, and high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change are posing great structural challenges for Pakistan.

In the current Human Development Index (HDI), Pakistan ranks 161st out of the 191 countries listed.

2022 flood disaster

In mid-2022, exceptionally heavy monsoon rain caused devastating floods in Pakistan. For some time, one third of the country's area was flooded. The disaster affected 33 million people. There was heavy damage to infrastructure. Harvests and livestock were lost. The flood disaster led to a food crisis. According to United Nations figures, over ten million people are experiencing acute food insecurity (June 2023). A total of over 20 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The German government provided nearly 100 million euros to help the country to address the social impacts of the disaster and to rebuild. About 67 million euros of this amount has come from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). An international donor conference in January 2023 generated pledges totalling about ten billion euros.

A refuge for people from Afghanistan

Pakistan is the world's number one host of refugees from Afghanistan. Over 1.3 million people from the neighbouring country have been registered officially in Pakistan. In addition, a large number of refugees are living in the country without having registered. Most refugees are living outside refugee camps in urban or semi-urban areas, especially in the Provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Pakistan requires international assistance in order to provide services for the refugees.

Development Minister Svenja Schulze and Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman
State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth speaks at the Pakistan Supporters Conference in Geneva

German development cooperation with Pakistan

Germany and Pakistan have engaged in development cooperation since 1961, the year that the BMZ was founded. Germany's development cooperation with Pakistan is geared towards supporting the country in achieving sustainable development. The cooperation focuses on the following core areas:

  • Climate and energy, just transition
  • Sustainable economic development, training and employment
  • Health, social protection and population policy

In addition, the BMZ is assisting Pakistan in the economically weak regions on the Afghan border in improving services for Afghan refugees and developing municipal infrastructure. Where possible, account is taken of women as a key target group in all projects, and special support is provided to their active participation.

Geographically, the programme of development cooperation is concentrated on the north-west of the country. Germany is one of the few donors working in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with their own structures and staff. Another focus is on the populous Province of Punjab. Among other things, it is home to a large number of textile companies.

At the government negotiations in May 2023, the BMZ committed 163.3 million euros in new funding to Pakistan. Of this sum, 108.5 million euros has been earmarked for Financial Cooperation and 54.8 million euros for Technical Cooperation.

With the support of GIZ, solar systems are installed in Sindh, Pakistan.

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Generating power from sustainable sources, preventing disasters, adapting to climate change Internal link

According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is one of the ten countries most severely affected by climate change. Germany is assisting Pakistan in moving forward on its energy transition and in establishing social protection systems in order to cushion the impacts of climate change.

Textile factory in Faisalabad, Pakistan

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Vocational education and job creation Internal link

In Pakistan, the BMZ supports activities that contribute to competitive, crisis-proof economic development, create jobs, and put special emphasis on employment for women. One focus is on vocational education. There are also lending programmes for the private sector to enable it to invest in new business fields and new jobs.

A pharmacy employee uses a dropper pipette (symbolic image)

Core area “Health, social protection and population policy” Access to medical care and financial protection against climate risks Internal link

Social protection is vital for successful poverty reduction and crisis preparedness, for food security and climate resilience, and for inclusive economic development. The establishment of appropriate protection systems is thus a focus of Pakistan-German development cooperation.

Current situation

Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan
A shepherd in Naran Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan
Control centre of the hydropower plant Ghazi Barotha, Pakistan

As at: 18/07/2023