ADB approves $603m to expand social protection programmes in Pakistan

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday approved a $603 million results-based lending programme to strengthen and expand social protection programmes in Pakistan.
According to an ADB statement, the programme will support using conditional cash transfers the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction strategy.
Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Programme, the ADB will provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund and will provide a $24 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation.

ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov said in a statement “The programme marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities,”.

Yevgeniy Zhukov further said “ADB’s support will transition from unconditional cash transfers that provide income support to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional cash transfers for education, health services, and nutritional supplies that will help reduce intergenerational poverty through human capital development,”.

The programme supports the Ehsaas goal to expand cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents of poor families, especially girls, and enhance health services and nutrition for women, adolescent girls, and poor children.

It also aims to initiate coverage of accelerated learning programmes at the primary education level for overaged out-of-school children under conditional cash transfers.
Furthermore, the programme supports improvements in the implementation and fiduciary capacity for Pakistan’s social protection programmes.