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UK Doubles Pakistan Aid In Battle Against Poverty

Department For International Development (UK)

UK doubles aid to Pakistan in the battle against poverty

The fight against poverty in Pakistan is to be stepped up with a doubling of UK assistance to £480 million by 2011, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander announced today.

On a visit to Islamabad, Mr Alexander published the UK's new Country Plan, outlining help for the Government of Pakistan. This will make Pakistan the recipient of the UK's second largest aid programme worldwide by 2011. UK assistance will continue to focus on health - including the battle against diseases like TB and polio - and on good governance and earthquake reconstruction.

But there will now be an additional emphasis on assistance to the border areas as well as on education, with more than £250 million being made available to bring five million children into school and to increase training opportunities for young people.

Mr Alexander said: "The United Kingdom has long been a great friend of Pakistan. Our two countries are united by a shared history and strong cultural and economic ties.

"We have been committed to helping Pakistan's efforts in the fight against poverty for many years. Our aim is to continue to help improve poor people's lives in key areas, making sure they have access to better healthcare, schools and employment opportunities."

The announcement was welcomed by the Pakistan Minister for Finance, Syed Naveed Qamar, who said: "We greatly acknowledge DFID's strategy, which is marked by a common approach of identifying short and medium term priorities to fight poverty in Pakistan and help achieve the target of the Millennium Development Goals.

"We also remember their timely and generous assistance of £128 million extended for the relief and reconstruction of the October 2005 earthquake affected areas."

As part of its commitment, the UK Government will provide £50 million to the State Bank of Pakistan to support a new drive to open up financial services to poor people - to encourage wealth and job creation by making available loans and access to bank accounts.

NOTES

1. DFID's objectives in Pakistan are to work in partnership with the Government of Pakistan, provincial Governments, the international community and other donors to bring enduring and sustainable benefits to the poor.

2. DFID's priorities are around giving people access to better health and education, making government more effective and ensuring growth works for everyone and that the international community delivers better together.

3. In November 2006, the UK and Pakistan signed a 10-year Development Partnership Arrangement and the UK committed to doubling aid to Pakistan for the period 2008-2011.

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the British government's fight against world poverty. For further information go to http://www.dfid.gov.uk

COI ref 162985P

ENDS

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