Sustained growth, economic development and poverty reduction are vital to the economic, social and political viability of nations.

In Pakistan, the achievement of these goals has been constrained by near absence of an effective national strategy and public policy. This is manifested in a pervasive lack of necessary infrastructure, well-functioning institutions, profitable opportunities, and skill-oriented capacities. These constraints lead to low productivity and income diversity, lack of competitiveness in national and international markets, and wide-spread environmental degradation, pervasive poverty, food insecurity, low resilience to natural shocks, and large migration toward urban areas. These characteristics of Pakistan’s rural economy not only create social and economic uncertainties in rural areas but also exacerbate political instabilities in the whole country.

Realizing the importance of the rural economy and the emphasis from the Vision 2025, the Ministry for Planning, Development and Reform of the Government of Pakistan has decided to set up a Center for the Rural Economy to facilitate the implementation of knowledge based policies that can effectively choose investments that strengthen rural infrastructure and institutions, enable profitable opportunities, and facilitate the advance of skills crucial to steer development in rural areas. The Center will gather data and conduct research on high priority areas identified by consultation of stakeholders, and will also encourage, coordinate, and monitor rural economy related research, identify profitable investments, build the capacity of small farmers and poor landless people that link them with institutions and markets, and develop national and international collaboration among related institutions and stakeholders. (See Annex I for the links between Vision 2025 and the potential activities of the Center).

The specific objective of the project is to establish a Center for Rural Economy (CRE) in Planning Commission to provide quality evidence based policy recommendations associated with all aspects of Pakistan’s Rural Economy for meeting the goals of the Country’s Vision 2025.