South Asia matters. With the world’s largest working age population, the biggest portion of poor and undernourished, and several fragile states of geopolitical importance, South Asia will significantly impact the global development outcomes.

The region has experienced a long period of robust economic growth, averaging 6% a year over the past 20 years. This strong growth however has left behind lagging regions and groups like women and the poor.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,and the World Bank have been working together since 2007 to address the development challenges of the region in four key sectors:

  • Water Supply & Sanitation
  • Gender
  • Infrastructure
  • Local Governance and Service Delivery

Since 2015, PFSA is supporting two important sector to strengthen  the economic development of the region:

  • Regional Integration
  • Trade


Grant Title Project Status Programs Funded Objective
South Asia - Spatial Data for South Asia: setting up a spatial database for infrastructure development Active Infrastructure For Growth This project seeks to set up a solid spatial information base for infrastructure development, a Spatial Data for South Asia. The Spatial Data will geo-reference and integrate data from a variety of sources in a single, user-friendly electronic platform. Data sources to be used in it include: population censuses, household and firm surveys, satellite imagery, project-related data, and administrative data, among others.
South Asia - Gross National Happiness Operations Toolkit Closed Infrastructure For Growth This activity supports the Center for Bhutan Studies and the Gross National Happiness Commission in the preparation of a practical tool on Bhutan-specific data. Bhutan is internationally known for its reliance on Gross National Happiness as a guiding concept for development policy. Relative to more conventional Gross Domestic Product metrics, the Gross National Happiness approach involves taking into account non-monetary dimensions of wellbeing.
South Asia - Report on Violence Against Women (VAW) Closed South Asia Gender initiative
World - Study on Masculinity and Gender Closed South Asia Gender initiative Part of a wider series of initiatives by the World Bank to expand research on male gender roles, in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of gender relations and how they impact constructions of both ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ in diverse cultural and socio-economic contexts.
South Asia - Moving to a Male-inclusive Gender Approach in SAR – JIT Closed South Asia Gender initiative To demonstrate a male inclusive approach to gender equality through multimedia.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Accounting and Greening of SAR Infrastructure Projects: Energy Sector Closed completed Infrastructure For Growth To measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by using improved methodologies and tools in select infrastructure projects, before and after intervention, particularly in the transport sector in South Asia.
Report on Violence Against Women (VAW) in South Asia Approved progress South Asia Gender initiative To increase knowledge about and support efforts to address the problem of violence against women in South Asia.
Framing Responses to State Fragility: Strengthening Institutions and Service Delivery Systems-Lessons from the South Asia Region Active progress Infrastructure For Growth To address issues of poor economic and social connectivity and economic integration as they relate to low capacity in conflict-affected areas with a view to defining more effective engagement strategies and responses to weak institutions, lagging growth and conflict; analysis will be based on case studies in Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


Group of Indian Women

Aurangabad, India. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank