Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) organized a two-day Winter School on ‘Economic Diplomacy’ and was participated by a large number of students.
President IPRI Ambassador (retd) Dr. Raza Muhammad opened the school and urged the need for brainstorming on concepts as to how Pakistan can buoy its economic diplomacy at a time when the chips are down, and the world is rapidly moving towards economic integration. He also pointed out that Pakistan, of late, had made a strategic move and shifted its fulcrum from geo-politics to geo-economics. He also underscored the need to disseminate economic education, and to analyze it in the right spirits in a changing world of technology and crypto-currencies.
Chair of Economic Security Dr. Aneel Salman highlighted the “Fundamental of Economic Diplomacy”, wherein he dilated upon various facets of economic diplomacy and how it has evolved over a period of time, and what needs to be done to strengthen Pakistan’s perspective at home and abroad in the economic realms.
The winter school’s first day of the ‘Ambassador’s Panel’ was addressed by Amb. Riaz Muhammad Khan, former Foreign Secretary; Ambassador Tariq Osman Hyder; Ambassador Naela Chohan, and Ambassador Asif Durrani, who is also the Senior Research Fellow at IPRI.
The former diplomats spelled out the true vision behind economic diplomacy and made referrals to how tough the nut to crack keeping into account the weaknesses the economy has at home. They remarked that until and unless there is economic growth, diversity in production, and a competitive saleable approach, Pakistan cannot match the dynamics of world economic diplomacy.
They pointed out the merits and demerits of the economic diplomacy of the country and underscored the need for a greater orientation of policy perfectness to realize economic vitality on the international front.
Sakib Sherani, CEO of Macro Economic Insights and member of several economic advisory councils under different prime ministers, spoke on “Pakistan’s Economy in Regional Context”. He expressed his views on the fault lines of the economy and their solutions. Pakistan requires deep structural and institutional modifications to become a productive, prosperous, and healthy country, he remarked.
The second day of the winter school on ‘Economic Diplomacy’, was addressed by Haroon Sharif, former Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Investment, on the theme “Economic Diplomacy-Myths and Reality”.
He observed that when countries develop an economic diplomacy strategy, they can identify their interests, use this knowledge to address misconceptions, and build relationships with other countries. He pointed out that it is essential to become a proactive member on the world stage, and mere political strings are not enough.
“Economic diplomacy strategies are vital for promoting a country’s long-term economic interests. Pakistan needs to invest heavily in knowledge,” Haroon added.
Raja Amer Iqbal, President District Board of Management, Punjab Vocational Training Council, RWP, and Adnan Younis Lodhi, Policy Advisor, ITC-GRASP spoke on business and investment issues in Pakistan as well as the key global economic trends, and options for economic diplomacy.
They said that the need of the hour is to invest in human capital, vocational training, and agriculture technology in order to export manpower. They said that remittances are not an issue if Pakistan harnesses its labor and skilled manpower potential.
Pakistan should redraft its economic diplomacy and seek investment in small industrial ventures, IT products, solar panels, and finished goods marketing so that new strata of the economy can be streamlined. This will inevitably help overcome the budget deficit nuisance, and put Pakistan on the path of progress and prosperity.
They were of the view that no amount of talented and articulate diplomacy can help Pakistan if its economic indicators are nosedived. This is why the focus should be on furthering growth and diversifying production as well as mushrooming human capital to cope with the realities of the modern era.