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Germany eyes energy sector: Merkel

Germany is looking to increase its investments in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector, provided the conditions are right, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday during a visit by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Merkel said Germany''s KfW state development bank was already involved in projects in Pakistan including hydro power plants, but added that the security situation was sometimes a deterrent. "We can look at intensifying these (investments), as long as the conditions are right," Merkel told a joint news conference with the PM. Nawaz said Germany companies had shown plenty of interest in his country''s energy sector.

APP adds: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Tuesday said that Germany has pledged to improve its economic ties with Pakistan and cooperate in the energy sector. "There is a lot of interest of German businessmen to invest in energy sector in Pakistan as the country is facing acute shortage of energy and the government is aggressively pursuing the policy to attract foreign investors," the Prime Minister said while speaking at a joint stakeout ceremony along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their bilateral meeting.

The Prime Minister said they held a productive meeting with special focus on bilateral relations. He said both sides exchanged useful views on regional and global issues. He said Germany occupies a special place in Pakistan''s foreign policy and both Pakistan and Germany enjoy traditionally warm and friendly ties. The Prime Minister said that leadership of both the countries are committed to further consolidating these mutually beneficial ties.

He said that for several years now Germany has been Pakistan''s fourth largest trading partner globally as well as the largest in the European Union. "Pakistan offers the most investors-friendly climate when compared in the world today and the German businesses can benefit from it, by participating in multiple sectors of our economy," the Prime Minister said, adding that Pakistan''s energy sector in particular is lacking large investment.

The Prime Minister welcomed the decision of German government for establishing an Energy Forum in Lahore and also its decision to cooperate in water disaster management. He said that scourge of terrorism continues to haunt the world, adding Pakistan is still paying forbiddingly a heavy price in fighting this menace.

He expressed the confidence that Pakistan will soon succeed in defeating this menace. Prime Minister Sharif said that both the countries have mutually agreed to further strengthen their ongoing engagement in the field of counter terrorism. Germany has played an important role in the development of Pakistan''s social sector, he said, adding that both the countries have also decided to continue their collaboration in the field of higher education.

He said both the countries have rich culture and Pakistan greatly values the decision of German government to sponsor its archeological sites and to preserve UNESCO heritage site at Makkali. The Prime Minister appreciated the German government''s decision of expanding its ongoing vocational training programme in Pakistan.

He said that rapidly transforming global scenario poses serious challenges as well as exciting opportunities. "I believe in the concept of a peaceful neighbourhood while promoting co-operation, co-existence and connectivity," he added. He said Germany is poised to play an important role in today''s challenging global environment under Chancellor Merkel''s dynamic leadership by contributing to peace and regional stability and development in many ways.

"I am convinced that the future holds great promise for further consolidating our bilateral relations," he said. He thanked Chancellor Merkel and the German government for their consistent and sincere support to Pakistan. The prime minister also invited the German Chancellor to visit Pakistan. To a question, the Prime Minister said that Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai is not only regarded as a hero in Pakistan, she is also very popular in the country for her service in the field of education.

He said Malala has gone through hard times. The Prime Minister said that the people of Pakistan and Germany are equally rejoiced over the way Malala was honoured with the award. The Prime Minister said that he hasn''t come across any adverse feeling against Malala in Pakistan even in Swat. She is being respected by entire Pakistan, he added.

He said that during the next three years, Pakistan will be able to add another 4000 to 5000 MW of electricity to the national grid. He said that in the long run Pakistan should have another 10000 MW of electricity and Chancellor Merkel has been very helpful and supportive in this regard.

About the lynching of a Christian couple in Pakistan, he said, it is a shameful act and we condemned it. He said a judicial inquiry has been ordered and instructions have been issued that the accused be given exemplary punishment. He said Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif had visited the family to provide comfort and relief. He said certainly Pakistan is a democratic and progressive country and firmly committed to promoting and protecting human rights.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that both the sides held useful and productive talks. She said they discussed bilateral, regional and international issues including Afghanistan. She said that Germany wants to expand its mutual ties with Pakistan. Lauding Malala Yousufzai, the German Chancellor said that girls like Malala who is courageous and brave, are pride for Pakistan. She also congratulated the Prime Minister and Pakistani nation on Malala''s winning the Nobel prize. Earlier, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived at the Chancellor House, he was received by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A ceremony was held at the Chancellor House where national anthems of both the countries were played and the Prime Minister was presented a guard of honour.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2014


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.378 bln
Exports $2.016 bln
Imports $4.394 bln
WeeklyAugust 27, 2015
Reserves $18.509 bln