Repeated and persistent flooding in Pakistan have left its economy severally hindered, with experts saying they could have halved the country’s potential for economic growth.
Three consecutive years of flooding helped to push up the country’s inflation and unemployment rates, disrupting supply chains, damaging key crops – like sugarcane and cotton – and hampering industrial production.
Losses in the agricultural sector alone could have reached $2 billion as 1.05 million acres of crops were damaged.
The three year’s of flooding – in 2010, 2011 and 2013 – cost the country $16 billion in total and caused 3,072 deaths across the country.
“The impact of floods on Pakistan’s economy is colossal as the economy grew on average at a rate of 2.9% per year during the last three years,” said Ishrat Husain, an economist and director of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.
That is less than half the 6.5% that Pakistan could potentially have managed if it weren’t facing the economic and human losses associated with the flooding, Husain said.
Flooding is hardly the only impediment to economic growth in the troubled South Asian country. Worsening power shortages, “a poor law and order situation and a host of other structural impediments” also are holding back investment and growth, Husain said.
But extreme weather presents an especially worrying economic challenge, he said, because the country can work to reduce its energy crisis and improve law in order, but has limited scope to avert natural calamities, other than trying to devise effective mechanisms to minimise its losses.
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