Pakistan and ADB

ADB supports Pakistan in improving key infrastructure, disaster resilience, urban services, private sector, public finance, energy, food security, transport networks, and social services.

Economic forecasts for Pakistan

Figures are based on the latest edition of ADB's Asian Development Outlook, which analyzes economic and development issues in Asia and the Pacific. This includes forecasting the inflation and gross domestic product growth rates of economies throughout the region.


 

Comparative economic forecasts

The latest available economic data for Pakistan compared to countries in South Asia.


 

Policy Challenge—Closing a Financial Inclusion Gender Gap

Pakistan has one of the lowest financial inclusion rates for women in the world. While Pakistan’s overall financial inclusion has improved, the gender gap in account ownership more than doubled over the past decade, reaching 32% in 2021. The World Data Lab estimates that, without immediate action, this gap will widen to over 42% by 2030. In a World Bank survey encompassing 135 economies, Pakistan ranked fourth lowest overall, and third lowest in Asia, on female financial inclusion. More than three out of every five Pakistani women remain unbanked.

Pakistani women face multiple barriers when accessing finance. On the demand side, low female labor force participation means that most women lack a steady income stream and are largely dependent on male family members for their financial needs. Social and religious traditions influence gender roles, with women viewed as homemakers rather than breadwinners. The absence of formal income and proper documentation makes it difficult for women to open and maintain standard bank accounts, as banks consider them high risk. Moreover, low literacy levels and insufficient financial education undermine women’s ability to utilize formal banking channels and render them more susceptible to fraud. Rural women are further marginalized, as their access to banks is even more limited due to long distances and commute times.

On the supply side, expanding women’s financial inclusion requires strong will and a prioritized push for legal and regulatory change. New rules must support gender-inclusive finance while easing persistent liquidity constraints in the sector. The central bank’s Banking on Equality Policy is a monumental step in advancing women’s financial inclusion. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan has also initiated significant steps toward refining the regulatory framework for nonbank finance companies, including microfinance institutions that traditionally target women in Pakistan.

Regulators should continue to play a critical role in providing an enabling regulatory environment. They should continue to influence action by financial service providers to promote gender-inclusive finance and incentivize the country’s financial institutions to integrate a gender focus into the national financial services industry and widen access to digital financial services, including mobile banking, digital wallets, and banks on wheels. Financial institutions can also promote greater gender diversity at their access points and mandate more robust gender-disaggregated data collection and target setting. Commercial banks and fintech enterprises should continue to dedicate time and resources to better understand the needs of women customers and the strategic value of women’s market, organize gender-sensitivity training for their staff, and design women-centric products and services.

Gender-inclusive opportunities for smaller enterprises and microfinance should be expanded further. This can involve credit guarantee schemes, export financing facilities, business development and financial literacy training, tax incentives to banks, and digitalized business registration processes. In addition, the sector would benefit from the continued growth of a gender bonds market to channel much-needed finance to women-owned businesses.

More resources

Asian Development Bank and Pakistan: Fact Sheet

Asian Development Bank and Pakistan: Fact Sheet

The Fact Sheets summarize ADB's partnerships with member economies, providing key facts and figures and an overview of activities and future directions.

Asian Development Outlook (ADO) April 2024

Asian Development Outlook

The Asian Development Outlook analyzes economic and development issues in developing countries in Asia.

Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2023

Key Indicators

The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific publication presents data regarding the economic, financial, social, and environmental situations in a broad range of countries across the region.

Basic Statistics 2023

Basic Statistics

The Basic Statistics brochure presents data on selected social, economic, and SDG indicators such as population, poverty, annual growth rate of gross domestic product, inflation, and government finance for economies in Asia and the Pacific.