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

Pakistan Influential partner country in South Asia

Pakistan is a country torn apart in many ways. Its geographical position makes Pakistan very vulnerable to natural disasters. On the political front, it is wearing itself down through continuous conflicts with its economically stronger neighbour, India. Relations with the United States are tense, as the US has been accusing Pakistan of taking too little action against terrorism. In addition, Pakistan is increasingly affected by religiously and economically motivated conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a result, Pakistan is trying to establish closer relations with China, both politically and economically.

There is an urgent need for social, economic and environmental reforms. Pakistan is a young democracy with a rapidly growing population (about 212 million at present). It is relatively stable politically; its economic growth rate has been increasing. This means that there is a lot of potential for Pakistan to launch such reforms. The country's internal dynamism and its global weight make Pakistan an important partner for Germany's development cooperation.

Development cooperation

Germany and Pakistan have engaged in development cooperation since 1961, the year that the BMZ was founded. Currently, Germany's development cooperation with Pakistan focuses on three priority areas: governance, energy and sustainable economic development.

Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan

Political stability in a setting of extremism and weak institutions and infrastructure Internal link

Since gaining independence in 1947, Pakistan has spent long periods under military rule. With the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008, the country completed a peaceful transition from military rule to democracy.

Primary education for girls and boys in the Tribal Areas (Pakistan)

The long road to realising the Vision 2025 Internal link

In the last two decades, Pakistan has managed to reduce income poverty significantly. According to World Bank figures, the share of poor people in the country's population has dropped from 57.9 per cent in 1998 to 24.3 per cent in 2015.

In a textile factory in Faisalabad, Pakistan, cotton is tested for impurities.

Bleak outlook despite increasing growth rates Internal link

Up to 2017, a policy of cautious economic and tax reforms, a favourable global economic setting and a three-year support programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) contributed to the stabilisation of Pakistan's economy.

German development cooperation with Pakistan

Germany's development cooperation with Pakistan is geared towards supporting the country in consolidating democracy within the government and society and in achieving sustainable economic development. For the years 2019 and 2020, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) committed 109.1 million euros for this purpose. Bilateral cooperation focuses on the following priority areas:

  • ​Governance
  • Sustainable economic development
  • Energy

In addition, Germany is helping to reduce the causes of displacement in Pakistan by supporting the structurally weak border regions with Afghanistan in supplying refugees, improving municipal infrastructure in communities with a high proportion of migrants and promoting the reintegration of Pakistani internally displaced persons in tribal areas. As far as possible, all projects support the empowerment of women and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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 and the tribal areas 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.

A shepherd in Naran Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan

Decentralisation facilitates more participation by the people Internal link

In 2013, new local government systems were introduced in Pakistan's four provinces, with many tasks being handed over to municipal authorities, some of which were newly founded on that occasion. This administrative reform enables municipalities to give citizens a greater say in decision-making processes, for instance on local development planning and budget planning.

Textile factory in Faisalabad, Pakistan

Vocational training, promotion of employment, social protection Internal link

In 2015, Pakistan and Germany agreed to make "Sustainable economic development" a new priority area of their cooperation. Since then, they have linked their successful cooperation on vocational training and employment promotion with work on issues such as private sector development and social protection.

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

Solar, wind and hydropower instead of oil Internal link

Pakistan's development is being impeded by a protracted energy crisis. In order to improve the situation and become less dependent on imported oil, Pakistan is expanding the use of renewable energy. Germany supports these efforts, assisting the country with the use of alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind and hydropower.