“Pakistan is Open for Business”
“Pakistan is Open for Business” this was the consensus at the 2nd roundtable for developing linkages between Pakistani and U.S. entrepreneurs.
The roundtable was organized by U.S. think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in collaboration with Mishal Pakistan, a leading research institution in the country working on economic research and media development. Stakeholders from business community, policy makers, entrepreneurs, media and related institutions participated in the meeting.
Sadika Hameed, expert, renowned economist and fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, “certain sectors such as dairy, agribusiness, FMCGs, information communication technology and more are widely recognized as lucrative industries with great potential for U.S. entrepreneurs. Additionally there are untapped opportunities particularly in regard to research, data & knowledge technologies that the United States is well positioned to capitalize on.”
Pakistan would especially welcome investments in human resource development, that will also further U.S. business interests, Hameed added.
Pakistan’s enormous youth population is often perceived as a threat to its stability, with large numbers of disaffected young people facing poor employment prospects. A private sector led development approach can turn the youth bulge from a liability to an asset, paying out a “demographic dividend” as young workers accumulate wealth without a large retired population to support.
It was also identified that Pakistan is ripe with opportunities for alternative financing to traditional collateral based lending, especially for the enterprising youth, who do not have the initial capital.
Foreign investors have another reason to invest in Pakistan. As western investors seek to hedge against market volatility, they seek to diversify their investments and reduce exposure to any one market. Recent external research has examined the potential for Africa to provide regional diversification through its low market correlations with the United States and Europe. Research by Pakistani economists indicates that the market correlation with Pakistan is even lower (around 0.05). As banks and institutional investors try to limit their exposure to risk, Pakistani investments are likely to yield good returns and could shield investors from market fluctuations elsewhere.
The roundtable was a follow-up to a stakeholders’ meeting Lahore earlier this week. The 3rd roundtable on entrepreneurship and private sector development will be held in Islamabad by the end of this month.
CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center’s 220 full-time staff and large network of affiliated scholars conduct research and analysis and develop policy initiatives that look to the future and anticipate change.