Salaam alaikum and good afternoon.
Chairman Hijazi, I think I pronounced that right. Having been trained in Arabic the name Hijazi’s not so hard. Deputy Governor Ahmed.
All of my friends and colleagues here, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for those of you who have contributed to this successful event. In particular, I’d like to thank our USAID Mission, my colleagues there, and their Pakistani collaborators for what the AID Mission Director I think quite correctly characterized as a significant and substantial achievement. So thank you all.
My message is a relatively simple one which is that this initiative is good for investors, it’s good for the private sector, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for Pakistan, and it’s good for America. It’s good for all of those who have a stake in Pakistan’s success as we feel we do.
I think this initiative for the investors, to start with, demonstrates that investing in Pakistan is good for business. Timing is right for this type of initiative. Under Prime Minister Sharif we feel Pakistan is making progress in revitalizing its economy and meeting international financial benchmarks. The focus on improved institutions and legal and regulatory reforms is helping to create a robust and vibrant financial sector boosting investor confidence, and this initiative will capitalize on this newfound confidence and it demonstrates the interest of private equity firms and the value of investing in Pakistan.
As for the private sector, this initiative puts to use all of the skills, knowledge and experience of the private sector, and it’s not just a one-off thing. The initiative offers a long-term strategy of private sector involvement in national development. It’s part of a broader push to connect those of us in government with the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial community. Productive relationships between governments and entrepreneurs tap new solutions for growth.
The government of Pakistan has significant future goals for Pakistan. Fostering economic growth, dealing with climate change, improving energy security, enhancing regional stability, and expanding access to education and to finance, and we need all hands on deck if Pakistan’s going to achieve those goals.
The good news is, you’re not alone. America shares these goals and we have programs to help such as this one. These are global challenges. They’re not just ones for Pakistan. So this kind of collaboration is going to be key if any of us are going to succeed in our goals, and we need to leverage the creativity and ingenuity of the private sector if we’re going to have any chance of success, and that’s exactly what this partnership is all about.
For Pakistan, we see this initiative as another face of our multi-faceted bilateral relationship, one in which in this case the private sector will be central, identifying goals and meeting economic needs. And as our relationship, the bilateral relationship, moves beyond just an assistance-based one toward mutually beneficial business arrangements, we believe it will be stronger, more sustainable, and more beneficial for all who are concerned.
Improved access to credit for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises will break down barriers to entry in this market and increased access to financing will position businesses to find new solutions to the development challenges that are facing Pakistan and the world.
I mentioned as well America’s interest in this. Investing in and placing our trust in Pakistan’s entrepreneurial spirit will pay dividends for decades to come, building a stable, prosperous, and resilient Pakistan which is in everyone’s interest, and we all look forward to seeing the results of these impressive investments.
Thank you again very much for the opportunity to join you.