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You are here: Home Review 2012 Table of Contents Press Releases New priorities for aid to Pakistan

New priorities for aid to Pakistan

Ideas from the Global Economic Symposium (GES)

Press Release, August 13, 2012

Pakistan’s two most critical problems are feckless leaders and a feeble state, according to this report on what foreign assistance should contribute to getting the country’s political economy moving in the right direction. The report summarises the thinking of a working group of leading Pakistani development professionals and outside experts, brought together by the Global Economic Symposium (GES) to discuss priorities for Western aid.

Many of Pakistan’s problems are self-inflicted, the GES working group concludes – the result of its weak state and a long history of ineffective leadership. Given different circumstances and different leadership, Pakistan could have developed differently; given different policies now, the working group argues, it could yet transform itself into a vigorous state with a vigorous economy similar to India.

The GES working group has analysed the major obstacles to the development that Pakistan needs to build prosperity and security, and produced a series of project recommendations for aid agencies. To replicate the financial constraints that those agencies face, the working group has prioritised the projects based on a $100 million budget.

At the heart of the working group’s recommendations is the use of aid to train the judiciary and civil service, to upgrade the policy-making infrastructure, to create institutions that can increase the accountability of politicians and to encourage Pakistan’s intellectuals to contribute to a more pragmatic problem-solving environment within the country.

The GES working group has identified six relatively low-cost projects that could start to improve Pakistan’s political economy and inspire similar initiatives. A much greater share of aid budgets should be spent on strengthening the institutions that play pivotal roles in influencing how the state works. Right now, these play a very small role on donor agendas even though they are the crucial drivers of how the Pakistani state performs.
Under the Patronage of José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission) the Global Economic Symposium (GES) assembles some of the world’s most prominent experts from politics, business, academia and civil society with the aim of providing research-based solution-oriented proposals for addressing the most pressing global challenges.

The Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2012, which will take place on October 16th – 17th, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in collaboration with the Fundação Getulio Vargas.


“The Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2012 is being jointly organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) and in collaboration with the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV).

Further information can be found at www.global-economic-symposium.org and at the official GES-blog at blog.global-economic-symposium.org.


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