Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs


Helping Pakistan Help Itself: Why America Should Open Its Markets (Not Just its Purse) to Pakistan

This is a joint post with Molly Kinder.

The United States and the international community have finally begun to open their wallets and provide humanitarian aid to help Pakistan’s flood victims, but that is just the beginning. To help Pakistan rebuild and create jobs for the millions displaced, the United States could do far more by fully opening its market to Pakistani exports.

Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon , Secretary Clinton, and other world leaders beseeched the international community to do more to help Pakistan cope with its catastrophic floods. With donor contributions initially trickling in at anemic levels, newspaper headlines questioned why the world seemed not to care about Pakistan’s humanitarian disaster. Under pressure, donors at last responded and the relief effort seems to have finally found its legs. By early this week, donor commitments had nearly quadrupled to $800 million.

Pakistan Aid Facts

This is a joint post with Molly Kinder.

As Pakistan struggles to cope with the worst flooding in the country’s history, international donors have contributed upwards of $800 million to humanitarian relief efforts. (See here for the UK’s Guardian newspaper’s ongoing tracking of individual donor pledges to Pakistan’s floods.) The full cost of rebuilding Pakistan’s flooded regions is still being calculated, and will no doubt be staggering. The Asian Development Bank has already pledged $2 billion to the recovery and reconstruction efforts and the World Bank another $900 million. Most other international donors have yet to announce their contributions to the mammoth rebuilding effort that is to come.

As background, this post lays out how much the United States and other international bilateral and multilateral donors were already giving to Pakistan, before the floods. These aid figures were compiled earlier this year, and do not take into consideration any reprogramming or redirection of funds towards flood relief and recovery. As donors adjust their assistance plans, we will continue to track the numbers, and will update our “Aid to Pakistan by the Numbers” page. Check back for more! You’ll find raw data for all of the charts in this post here.