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British Asian Trust and PSDF sign a big deal to secure 40,000 jobs

The British Asian Trust, founded by His Majesty King Charles III alongside leading British Asian business figures, has signed a landmark agreement with the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF), Pakistan’s largest skills development fund.

The signing ceremony took place at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi and was hosted by Mr. Martin Dawson, Deputy Head of Mission.

This agreement formalizes their partnership to create Pakistan’s first Employment Impact Bond, addressing a critical human capital constraint that hampers Pakistan’s economic growth and global competitiveness. Each year, over four million young people in Pakistan reach working age, and equipping them with future-ready skills is vital for the country’s economic progress.

The Employment Impact Bond aims to secure 40,000 jobs for young people in key growth sectors, emphasizing long-term employment outcomes while unlocking new capital for social impact initiatives in Pakistan.

These bonds are innovative financing instruments that leverage private sector capital and expertise for development, focusing on results and performance through financial incentives.

The British Asian Trust and PSDF have already received design funding from the Outcomes Accelerator, supported by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and UBS Optimus Foundation, and managed by Levoca.

The design of the impact bond will incorporate successful global examples and benefit from the shared expertise of the British Asian Trust and PSDF in innovative finance and skill development.

Kamyla Marvi, the British Asian Trust’s Pakistan director, stated, “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, PSDF’s COO, remarked, “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 programs. This first-of-its-kind venture in Pakistan demonstrates our commitment to innovative solutions that address the pressing need for skilled labor, promising a significant shift in how skills training programs are financed and implemented.”

PSDF is dedicated to vocational training and skill development, 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, collaborating with over 600 training providers from government bodies, the private sector, and international organizations to deliver a wide range of training programs across more than 250 trades and 2,500 locations in Pakistan.

The British Asian Trust, recognized as a pioneer in social finance instruments like impact bonds in South Asia, has extensive experience in securing employment outcomes and building the market for innovative financing in Pakistan. Leveraging its strong relationships with international funders, investors, and the UK diaspora, the Trust is well-positioned to grow impact investment opportunities and drive development in the region.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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