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British Asian Trust, PSDF Launch Work on Pakistan’s First Development Impact Bond

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LAHORE MIRROR — The British Asian Trust, founded by His Majesty King Charles III together with leading British Asian business leaders, and the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF), Pakistan’s largest skills development fund, signed a landmark agreement at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi.

The signing formalised their partnership to build Pakistan’s first Employment Impact Bond and was hosted by Mr. Martin Dawson, Deputy Head of Mission.

Human capital constraint is a critical factor for Pakistan’s slow economic growth and low global competitiveness. With over four million youth becoming working-age in Pakistan each year, equipping them with future-ready skills can serve as a powerful driver for economic advancement in the country.

The Employment Impact Bond is being designed to ensure 40,000 jobs for young people in key growth sectors and drive a focus on long-term employment outcomes, while unlocking new capital to fund social impact in Pakistan. Impact bonds are innovative financing instruments that leverage private sector capital and expertise for development, with a focus on achieving results. They shift the focus from inputs to outcomes, performance, and results through financial incentives.

Global interest in this initiative has already led to the British Asian Trust and PSDF being awarded design funding from the Outcomes Accelerator created by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and UBS Optimus Foundation and managed by Levoca. The design of the impact bond will draw on successful examples from global contexts and will benefit from the British Asian Trust and PSDF’s shared expertise in innovative finance and skilling.

Kamyla Marvi, British Asian Trust Pakistan Director, said, “This partnership with PSDF marks a significant milestone in our efforts to drive employment for the youth of Pakistan. We are excited to bring international expertise to support the local design of the country’s first impact bond for employment. We genuinely believe that this is an opportunity to transform the approach to development finance in Pakistan leading to greater innovation, efficiency and scale.”

At the signing ceremony, Ali Akbar Bosan, COO PSDF, said, “This pioneering initiative represents a revolutionary approach to funding skills training, set to transform the landscape of skilled workforce development. The feasibility study will evaluate the potential impact, scalability, and financial viability of the Employment Impact Bond, laying the foundations for future programmes. This first-of-its-kind venture in Pakistan is our commitment to innovative solutions that address the pressing need for skilled labour, promising a significant shift in how skills training programmes are financed and implemented.”

Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) is dedicated to vocational training and skill development by equipping the local workforce with market-relevant skills. Over the past 13 years, PSDF has funded the training of over 650,000 young people, 42% of whom are female. PSDF collaborates with over 600 training providers from government bodies, private sector, and international organisations to implement a wide range of training programmes in more than 250 trades across 2,500 training locations across Pakistan.

The British Asian Trust, recognised as a pioneer in social finance instruments such as impact bonds in South Asia, is regarded as a global leader in this space and has extensive experience securing employment outcomes. The Trust has used its expertise to build the market for innovative financing and grow impact investment opportunities in Pakistan, leveraging learnings from past and on-going work in the region, strong relationships with international funders and investors, and deep connections with the UK diaspora and the in-country Pakistan Advisory Council.