Towards shock-responsive social protection: lessons from the COVID-19 response in Pakistan

Publication language
Date published
01 Mar 2021
Lessons papers
COVID-19, Social protection
UK Aid, Oxford Policy Management

The Maintains programme is studying how Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Uganda have adapted and expanded their social protection systems in order to support households and mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. This study aims to identify policy actions to better prepare national social protection systems to respond to future crises. Based on a conceptual framework, the study analyses data from literature reviews, key informant interviews, and microsimulations.

This brief summarises key findings from the Pakistan case study. The first case of COVID-19 in Pakistan was recorded on 26 February 2020 and the country went into lockdown on 22 March 2020. As a result of the pandemic and the associated restrictions, Pakistan recorded a 0.4% decline in the real GDP growth rate during the 2019/20 financial year, against the previously projected growth of 3.3%. Estimates from our microsimulation suggest a significant increase in headcount poverty in Pakistan due to COVID-19. In the short term, the poverty rate is estimated to increase by over 35 percentage points in urban areas and by 32 percentage points in rural areas.