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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar on Wednesday assured the government’s full support to facilitate trade and investment in the field of technology and digital ecosystem, particularly by the US-Pakistan diaspora.

He was speaking at a US-Pakistani diaspora engagement conference in which the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed four partnership memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with US-Pakistani diaspora entities to promote technology and digital investments in Pakistan.

The partnership MoUs were signed with Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America; Silicon Valley to promote technology and digital investments in Pakistan and support Pakistani startups; SARC MedIQ to improve the health digital ecosystem in Pakistan; The Crescent Charity Foundation to support physical infrastructure in flood-affected areas of Pakistan; and Pak Foods to improve humanitarian and social development outcomes for Pakistan.

In his address to the event, Qamar said that the MoUs with the four diaspora entities will positively impact the development landscape of Pakistan. The commerce minister assured that his office is open for all to facilitate trade and investment in the technology sector.

He added that getting perceptive of the vibrant and well-accomplished US-Pakistani diaspora of Silicon Valley and of the local businesses and most importantly government of Pakistan will certainly help in improving the technology and digital ecosystem of Pakistan.

He also congratulated USAID and OPEN Silicon Valley for initiating a Start-up connect program in Pakistan. “Investing in technology is critical to meeting Pakistan’s goals,” he said. He also highlighted the diasporas’ ability to leverage investments in the technology sector to grow and modernize Pakistan.

Talking about the economic situation, he said that the government is making an effort to resolve the problems, adding that export needs attention with a view to increase export of Pakistani products to the US market.

He said that the government is ready to support the exporters, adding that IT sector is growing worldwide. “If the industry contacts us, we will listen and resolve their problems,” he said, adding that solution exists to address the country’s economic crisis.

He maintained that a political consensus is very critical for the development of the country. The minister further said that Pakistan will produce indigenously manufactured e-bikes by the end of June this year.

He also thanked US government on behalf of the Pakistan government for pledging more than $ 200 million to date to support flood relief disaster resilience and flood security.

Addressing the event, the US Embassy’s deputy chief of mission Andrew Schofer highlighted the valuable contributions of the US-Pakistani diaspora, which is a key partner in the humanitarian, social, and commercial sectors in Pakistan.

Schofer highlighted the longstanding US-Pakistan partnership to advance Pakistan’s economic growth and emphasized continued opportunities for future partnership.

“As the Green Revolution improved lives in the past, a ‘Green Alliance’ between the United States and Pakistan will help us jointly strengthen climate resilience, develop clean energy alternatives, and foster economic growth,” he said.

At the conference, which was sponsored by the US Mission in Pakistan in close coordination with the US-Pakistani diaspora entity Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, Silicon Valley fundamental challenges and opportunities in the technology sector of Pakistan were discussed and deliberated.

More than 300 participants attended in-person, including members of the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora, prominent local business leaders, and Pakistani officials, including Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Commerce, and Zeeshan Shah, the Prime Minister’s Ambassador at Large for Investments.

“The conference was an opportunity to highlight some of the contributions and investments already made by the Pakistani diaspora, facilitate collaborations between Pakistani diaspora entities, and develop a road map for collective action to address the current economic, humanitarian and social challenges in Pakistan,” said USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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