Economic outreach initiative


THE first meeting of Economic Outreach Coordination Group chaired by Special Assistant on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf was held on Saturday, marking the commencement of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Economic Outreach initiative. National Security Division has created an economic outreach roadmap for economic diplomacy, which will now be processed through ministries and the assessment of economic potential of ministries. First task of the group is to map Pakistan’s comparative advantage in priority countries. Economic diplomacy initiatives were initiated in the past also but no visible success was seen for various reasons, yet this time hopes are high. The PM’s economic outreach initiative is anticipated to be a game changer as it reflects a coordinated and institutionalised approach — an element that was missing in the past.
One has great expectations from energetic Moeed Yusuf to make the initiative successful with the objective to revive growth and take the country forward on path of sustainable development. Economic diplomacy is a diverse practice and an evolving subject, which generally involves three kinds of negotiations — trade, investment and development cooperation. In case of Pakistan, we will suggest the economic diplomacy strategy should focus on an in-depth partnership framework with China and regional players and a private sector-led model to undertake large projects. However, at the same time, government must undertake a few large-scale transactions such as in the housing sector as well as building road infrastructure to give confidence to interested investors. It really goes to credit of Prime Minister Imran Khan for opening doors of investment for countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Malaysia and Turkey. Though these are difficult times due to breakout of Covid-19, yet we will suggest Moeed Yusuf to prioritise materialising these investment commitments by enhancing the level of engagements with these friendly countries. This in fact will unleash growth and create immense job opportunities for our youth and help the PTI government fulfil its election manifesto. For economic diplomacy, the role of our missions abroad will also be very critical who need to be shaken out of dormant mode and given targets vis-à-vis promotion of trade and investments in the country. Similarly, we need to find new markets for our products including those in the African continent.