A Public-Private Partnership Conference, from the platform of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) was held in Dubai on 26 January 2010. The conference was co-chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Ali Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates and H.E. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The conference was attended by official delegations of FODP countries and organizations, and a large number of representatives of the private sector from FODP and other countries, as well as Pakistan.
H.E. Mr Bulent Arinc, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey also attended the conference and addressed the opening session.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan and all the participants expressed their profound thanks to Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE Government for hosting the conference and for making excellent arrangements.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan in his address explained that the Pakistan-led FODP process was launched in September 2008 to demonstrate in tangible form the international community’s solidarity for Pakistan and to assist in developing mutually beneficial partnerships to promote socio-economic growth and development. In this regard the corporate sector had an important role by forging joint ventures and business partnerships.
Building Pakistan’s own economic strength was also an important component of the overarching comprehensive strategy to overcome the challenges of terrorism and extremism. Pakistan had developed such a strategy outlining short, medium and long-term requirements.
The Foreign Minister underlined that addressing the root causes of violent extremism, including poverty and socio-economic alienation, was necessary to defeat terrorism. To this end, the democratic Government of Pakistan had undertaken far-reaching initiatives.
The Foreign Minister said that the public-private partnership provided an effective tool to accelerate socio-economic development, adding that Pakistan was rich in resources and offered countless opportunities for foreign investors in diverse areas to create win-win scenarios.
Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan reiterated UAE’s full support for the people and the Government of Pakistan, assuring that the UAE along with other FODP countries would explore all possible avenues to make the FODP process result-oriented. He lauded Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices against terrorism. He underlined that it was incumbent upon the international community to step forward and complement Government of Pakistan’s efforts towards addressing the socio-economic challenges and speeding up its broad-based sustainable development in accordance with its national priorities.
Following the opening session, presentations were made on Pakistan’s economy, the foreign investment environment, and public-private partnership frameworks in Pakistan.
It was emphasized that Pakistan’s economy, despite multidimensional challenges, was showing healthy signs of recovery, which bore testimony to its inherent strengths. Pakistan’s prime location that straddled South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, as well as its massive untapped resources had placed Pakistan in a favorable position to soon become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Four parallel breakout sessions were held on (i) Energy; (ii) Infrastructure Development; (iii) Agriculture and Agribusiness; and (iv) Social Sector—Education and Health, at which detailed presentations were made introducing projects in these areas which the Government of Pakistan had identified and developed for public-private partnerships.
It was underlined that Pakistan’s energy demand was projected to reach almost 150 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) in the next 15 years from the present demand of 63 MTOE. The Government was working on many possibilities such as import of electricity and natural gas, utilization of huge coal reserves, development of hydropower projects, promotion of efficient use of energy and promotion of alternative and renewable energy sources.
Similarly, Pakistan’s infrastructure needs were massive. In the context of public-private partnership, the Government had developed several commercially viable projects in mass transit, water reservoir, communication sector, solid waste management and water supply, real estate development and ports.
As regards agriculture, Pakistan was primarily an agrarian economy, yet only 39% of the 57.05 million hectares of cultivable land was being utilized. There was 8.25 million hectares which could be brought under cultivation. Still, Pakistan was surplus in food and could easily cater to requirements of so many countries with adequate investments.
Health and education sectors also offered myriad opportunities for public-private partnerships, given Pakistan’s large population of over 170 million. It was emphasized that investment in education was particularly crucial to prevent the youth from falling prey to misguided ideologies.
Candid discussions were held at these sessions. Representatives of the corporate sector in their interventions highlighted several issues and raised many queries about the viability of these projects. It was emphasized that the projects presented at the conference had been developed as part of Pakistan’s long-term development strategy and these offered best of possibilities compared elsewhere. It was also stressed that several hundred foreign companies were already engaged in all kinds of lucrative projects in Pakistan.
Corporate sector representatives also met separately with Pakistani officials and businessmen to discuss follow-up. The Government of Pakistan assured them of full facilitation should they decide to become partners in any of the projects presented at the conference.
It was agreed that the project-based public-private sector approach had immense potential and that interested corporate sector entities will undertake in-depth engagement for forging mutually beneficial partnerships.
It was agreed to hold regular follow-up and review meetings of the FODP on public-private partnership.
26 January 2010
Last modified: November 22, 2019
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