The United States intends to launch a regional fund for development in Central Asian Republics (CARs), which will include Pakistan as well.
In this regard, US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) CEO Adam Boehler informed Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood that they intended to start a regional fund for development in CARs, which had shown keen interest in including Pakistan in the fund.
He added that the IDFC had a $3-billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also discussed a number of opportunities with the Pakistani side and decided to pursue different options, as discussed in the meeting.
Giving an overview of Pakistan’s economic relationships with regional countries, Dawood said Pakistan was already working closely with Afghanistan, particularly on the development of transit trade as well as building a long-term economic relationship. The PM aide added that Pakistan was looking for stronger connectivity with CARs, which would include building of roads as well as power infrastructure.
The adviser underlined that Pakistan was a high-cost energy country and with stronger connectivity with CARs, the country could lower the cost for the benefit of investors and businesses. He further said the IDFC could play an instrumental role as a link among these regional countries for the achievement of mutual objectives.
While discussing different opportunities in Pakistan, Dawood apprised the IDFC official of the public-private partnership model introduced by the government in order to ease some burden on the annual development expenditure.
He explained that there was a need for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan because it brought technology, caused improvement in productivity and created employment opportunities for the locals.
He stressed that Pakistan was looking for diversification in FDI as investors.
The adviser also shared the problems being faced by businessmen in Pakistan, amid the global pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancelation of export orders.
Elaborating on the specific areas where the IDFC could support Pakistan, the Board of Investment (BOI) chairman, who was also present in the meeting, talked about the importance of equity investment rather than direct loans, which was a more sustainable approach towards development.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2020.