Canadian international assistance in Pakistan

Pakistan is the world's seventh most populous country, with an estimated 182.1 million inhabitants, 21% of whom live on less than US$1.25/day. The country's annual average per-capita income remains low at US$1,260/year.

Challenges facing Pakistan

Pakistan continues to struggle with high rates of infant, child and maternal mortality, low levels of literacy, and insecurity along the country's porous border with Afghanistan. The country is also prone to natural disasters such as flooding, drought and earthquakes. Canada has provided humanitarian assistance in response to floods in Pakistan as well as to other humanitarian situations.

Over 40% of Pakistan's population is 18 years old or younger. Pakistan's public education system is inadequate and is not meeting the needs of many children, nor is it adequately preparing young Pakistani men and women for employment. Pakistan has the second highest number of out-of-school children in the world: an estimated 5.4 million primary school-age children are out of school.

Pakistan ranks 147 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2015 Human Development Index. With some of the lowest development indicators in South Asia, its national development objectives are in jeopardy.

Economic crises along with domestic instability have contributed to a growing budget deficit, inflation and a rise in poverty. Because of the specific challenges that women face, they form a large percentage of the poor. Gender discrimination prevents women and girls from accessing basic services and from participating fully in the economy and society more generally.

Pakistan's historic May 2013 general election marked the first transition between democratically elected governments. The results of this election and the increasing independence of Pakistan's media and judiciary demonstrate a trend toward a more democratic Pakistan.

Our international development assistance

Search the Project Browser to see what Canada is doing to support development in Pakistan.

Education and health

Canada focuses its development programming in education and health on supporting efforts to improve the quality of teacher training and to build the capacity of district education managers.
Primary and middle school teacher training programs will benefit from instruction on improved teaching practices and the physical repair and upgrade of training facilities. Canada is deepening its involvement in teacher training and professional development.

With this focus, Canada contributes to improving the quality of basic education and to strengthening access to education for poor people, giving equal attention to the needs of girls and boys.

Canada is also investing in the fight to eradicate polio in Pakistan as part of the Government of Canada commitment to support the global Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013–2018.

Women’s economic empowerment

Canada's programming seeks to improve the enabling environment for women's economic participation and to increase the incomes they generate when they do participate. Beyond providing women with skills for employment, Canada's programs also raise awareness and respect for women's rights through public campaigns, social mobilization and training.

For example, Canada continues to support the implementation of legislation to improve women's working conditions and to protect workers' rights. National and provincial level data collection and monitoring are being strengthened to track women's contribution to the economy for use in planning how to better integrate women into Pakistan's workforce at all levels.

As well, Canada is working to help women generate small business income through basic financial literacy and numeracy training and improving skills in certain sectors.

Supporting citizen engagement

Canada supports targeted initiatives to promote democracy by supporting accountable public institutions through improved citizen engagement and more effective democratic processes.

Progress on aid effectiveness

Pakistan maintains a high level of ownership and control over the formulation of national development policies and over its relations with the donor community.

Donor harmonization in Pakistan is improving, partly because of successful coordination of emergency assistance requirements as a result of the 2010 floods, humanitarian assistance to internally displaced populations within Pakistan and the 2013 national elections. Canada is also contributing to enhancing donor coordination in the education sector.

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