June, 2014

The Partnership for South Asia (PFSA) is established with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It was originally set-up with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), which was merged with DFAT in November 2013. The trust fund supports Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives in addressing some of the key development challenges faced throughout the region, despite two decades of economic growth (Box 1). The challenges include the largest concentrations of people living on less than US$1.25 a day (over 500 million) and some of the fastest growing demographics of any region in the world. Exclusion of different groups in societies – from markets, services, as well as cultural, political and social life – is a root cause of poverty and that dichotomy is most apparent in access to infrastructure. The region lags significantly behind both East Asia and South and Central America when it comes to access to infrastructure services. Energy crises plague nearly every country in the region. When electrical power is available, 40 percent of the population has no access to it. Similarly, the region lacks a modern water utilities sector and 24/7 water supply is rare. Bottlenecks are encountered in all modes of transport, including: poor condition of roads, lack of intraregional connectivity, and unrealized potential for rail and inland water freight.

Read the complete 2014 PFSA annual report (PDF).