World Bank Allocates $149.7m for Digital and Flood Resilience Projects in Pakistan

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has given the green light to a financing package of $149.7 million for two key projects in Pakistan, aimed at enhancing the country’s digital economy and improving its resilience to floods.

The financing will be split between the Digital Economy Enhancement Project (DEEP) and the Sindh Barrages Improvement Project (SBIP). DEEP, with a budget of $78 million, is designed to expand the delivery of digitally enabled public services for citizens and businesses. The SBIP, on the other hand, will receive an additional $71.7 million to bolster flood resilience and enhance the reliability, safety, and management of provincial barrages.

The World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine, underscored the importance of these projects. He referred to the devastating floods that hit Pakistan in 2022 as a stark reminder of the need to build resilience against such disasters. This includes strengthening barrages and their management.

Benhassine also highlighted the importance of supporting Pakistan’s burgeoning digital economy for economic and social development. This includes expanding connectivity and access to government and financial services for citizens and entrepreneurs, particularly women.

DEEP will develop digital authentication and data-sharing platforms to enable Pakistan to respond more effectively and efficiently to shocks. It will deliver better e-government services to citizens and firms, support regulatory reforms in the sector, and strengthen personal data protection and online safety. The project will also promote financial inclusion, particularly for women, by enabling them to open bank accounts or apply for credit remotely via a smartphone application.

The additional financing for the SBIP will support the completion and commissioning of the rehabilitation works at the Guddu and Sukkur barrages. It will also improve the management of three barrages in Sindh, including Guddu, Sukkur, and Kotri. Safe and effective barrages to convey flood waters downstream are a crucial part of building climate resilience in Sindh.

The additional financing will also contribute to strengthening the technical capacities of the provincial barrage management unit, promoting women’s participation in emergency preparedness, and implementing extensive citizen engagement and stakeholder participation.

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