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US, Pakistan to improve economic engagement

By Our Correspondent
September 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The United States and Pakistan on Friday agreed to concentrate American-funded programs on economic growth, improving energy sector and other priority areas.

The agreement was made during a meeting between the US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul Jones and Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar. Officials of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement-Pakistan (INL-P) also attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed the USAID assistance interventions in priority areas which include federally-administered tribal area and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa integration, economic growth, energy, rule of law, education and exchanges and health.

“After discussions, both sides agreed to strengthen and enhance engagement in future programs particularly in priority areas of Pakistan to make them more meaningful,” the finance ministry said in a statement. “It was also agreed to work together for effective implementation, monitoring and oversight in order to achieve socioeconomic gains for the common man of Pakistan.”

Azhar assured ‘full’ assistance of his government for effective implementation of US development assistance programs in Pakistan. He appreciated the bilateral assistance being provided by United States in various sectors of the economy.

The minister discussed areas of economic cooperation and aid effectiveness with Jones and his team and shared key priorities of the present government which include good governance, poverty alleviation, human capital development, environment, and low-cost housing.

The US Ambassador and his team shared with the minister details of the ongoing programs of the USAID and INL-P in Pakistan. During the meeting, implementation and operational challenges to USAID programs also came under discussion.

The meeting took stock of the existing bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries and discussed ways and means to strengthen future relationship.