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July 12, 2019

WEF president hails Pakistan for overcoming power, security problems


July 12, 2019

SLAMABAD: The visiting President World Economic Forum (WEF) Børge Brende said that Pakistan overcame problems of power blackouts and security improvement and now skill acceleration was required to cater the needs of 60 percent population of bulge youth of the country.

“Few years back when I visited Pakistan as Minister for Norway the country was facing severe power blackouts and deteriorated security environment but now both these challenges had overcame,” the WEF President Børge Brende said while addressing a function cum lunch in his honor arranged by Ikram Sehgal, Chairman of Pathfinder Group, a founder member of the World Economic Forum together with the Chairman of Martin Dow Group here on Thursday.

Mr. Brende said that crucial Doha talks were underway among US, Taliban and other players and Prime Minister of Pakistan was also going to US for holding meeting with US President Donald Trump with expectation that enhanced security would be achieved in the region. He said Afghanistan did not see calm since 1979 and the ongoing peace initiative aimed at bringing peace and stability in the region.

He said that Afghan President had recently visited Pakistan for promoting peace in the region. He said he was visiting Pakistan at this crucial juncture when IMF programme approved with the commitment to undertake structural reforms as tax base was necessary to be expanded as the government needed revenues. He said the red tap-ism needed to be removed and positive developments were happening on the ground. He said Pakistan needed skill acceleration as 60 percent population was below age of 30 and out of 80 percent of them possessed low education.

He said that human development was critical and skill development could be done through public private partnership. He said the world was changing rapidly as multi-conceptual world provided opportunities in front of unpredictable problems. He said the democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech and press are hallmark of world but after digital transformation there was need to differentiate between fake news and true news.

He praised the billions tree project and termed it as incredible saying that Prime Minister of Pakistan took leadership role under the context of climate change. He said that Asia was contributing 50 percent of world’s overall GDP and new technologies were providing opportunities to everyone to establish right kind of connectivity to get advantages. He said that there were 2 billion IPhones and if anyone gets kind of education then Pakistan can also get benefit from digital transformation. He said the big giant companies did not exist 20 years and in next 20 years emerging companies did not come into being so far. He raised question why Pakistanis could not make part of this global value chain?

He mentioned that China was 2 percent of global GDP in 1980 but now its contribution increased to 19 percent. “There is no limitation for Pakistan,” he said and added that Pakistan was making progress in right direction.

On the occasion, Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said that the world was facing several challenges in shape of inequity, rampant urbanization and worst kind of famine. There are different conflicts erupted in many parts of the world. The multilateralism, she said, is another important question confronting the world.

In this troubled context, Dr Sania Nishtar said that there were some positive developments occurring in the world such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda that emphasized upon human capital. The digital transformation has helped the world a lot, she added.

She mentioned that the World Economic Forum (WEF) was playing role of bridge to connect with disconnect and providing thought leadership. She said that Pakistan is providing out of box solution and the government launched Ehsas programme ‘feelings’ in order to create social welfare state focusing on financial inclusion and establishing social safety nets. Ikram Sehgal also spoke on the occasion.

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