Economic projections into the future can be risky, and Pakistan is sometimes reticent when it comes to futures beyond a single cycle of governance. Now a report from a reliable source is projecting that Pakistan could become the world’s 16th largest economy by the year 2050 based on analysis of our GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP). The origins of the report lies with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) a multinational providing professional services and one of the ‘Big Four’ auditors globally.
What this means in real terms is that Pakistan could overtake Italy and Canada at 12th and 17th places respectively, not an event previously widely predicted. Why this may happen is that Pakistan is one of a group of emerging markets along with Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico that have huge and as yet underexploited or explored potential. As with geopolitics so with economics, and change is never limited to a single facet or element. China has already overtaken the USA in terms of PPP and is now the largest economy in the world; and the report further predicts that the global economy will double in size by 2050 — the year in which it is predicted that India will overtake the USA.
This economic dynamism is not idle speculation, window dressing. PM Nawaz Sharif on Thursday 9th February said that Pakistan is going to become a ‘major destination for international companies’. Of particular note is that Pakistan is an expanding market for American products that sell to the expanding middle class. He also cited the opportunities that would open up with CPEC. The present government has moved towards economic stabilisation even though the debt burden continues to billow and energy deficits are a significant brake on economic expansion — but Pakistan is no longer an economic basket case. The PwC projection provides a goal worth striving for, and it is now for successive governments to achieve it.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2017.
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