First Ever Pakistan's Competitiveness Report Launched

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The first State of Pakistan's Competitiveness Report was launched today by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz at the PM secretariat.

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Competitiveness is the cornerstone of Pakistan's growth strategy

The first State of Pakistan's Competitiveness Report was launched today by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz at the PM secretariat. The report is prepared by the Competitiveness Support Fund , a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The World Economic Forum recognized the economic achievements of the Government of Pakistan in the latest Global Competitiveness Report.Pakistan ranked 66th on the Business Competitiveness Index which shows the market efficiency and 91st out of 125 countries, on the Global Competitiveness Index that includes governance, health and education in the 2006-2007 Global Competitiveness Report. Not only did Pakistan score well on the Business Competitiveness Index, it also increased its rank by several places among the 125 nations on the Global Competitiveness Index.

Prime Minister, in his speech, noted that "the first State of Pakistan's Competitiveness Report is an important step to focus the energies of the nation around the common goal of making Pakistan a stronger economy. It also makes a historic contribution to the country and announces to the international business community that Pakistan intends to become a competitive and high-growth country". "Competitiveness is the cornerstone of Pakistan's growth strategy", said the prime minister.    

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister said that competitiveness is the cornerstone of economic growth which generates more employment and reduces poverty. Prime Minister said that all arms of the government and the private sector will have to be involved to improve Pakistan's ranking in the global competitiveness index.

The Prime Minister in his speech said the CSF would work in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and The US Competitiveness Council and the Lisbon Agenda of the European Union. He said during his recent visit to Davos he held useful meetings with the world leaders, including Mr. Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum as well as Prof. Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School about the ways and means to improve competitiveness.

Prof. Michael Porter, Harvard's expert on competitiveness and engineer of one of the Business Competitiveness Index, commented on the country's achievements in his video message at the launching ceremony of the report by saying, "Pakistan also shows impressive movement in some of the most dynamic indicators on the Business Competitiveness Index which bodes well for future economic growth. I commend the Prime Minister and his team for their steady stewardship of the Pakistan economy over recent years. Their efforts to catalyze pro-poor economic growth set an example for other dynamic, high- growth economies across the world."

Dr. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman, World Economic Forum also in his video message from Davos
said, "The World Economic Forum has for over a generation published the Global Competitiveness Report that has benchmarked the evolution of competitiveness in many countries. The World Economic Forum has included Pakistan in its Competitiveness Report for some years now. During this time, the Government of Pakistan has achieved impressive rates of economic growth and impressive reductions in poverty, despite conflicts on its borders, natural disasters and energy price increases."

However, it has not been until January of 2007 that there has been an in depth analysis of Pakistan's competitiveness conducted in the country. Pakistan now has its own State of Competitiveness in Pakistan report that can benchmark the progress of the country in achieving goals. The results validate the government efforts to improve public sector management. The biggest gains came in areas that have been the focus of recent Government reforms. Interest rate spreads the major indicator of financial sector efficiency, improved markedly. Indicators such as public trust in Government officials and capacity for innovation improved notably.

Dr. Salman Shah noted that the Competitiveness Support Fund seeks to finance practical initiatives to reposition Pakistan's economy regionally and globally and set it on a more competitive footing. The result will be higher productivity, increased innovation, and an economy that is integrated into global value chains and can compete internationally.

Mission Director USAID Pakistan, Jonathan Addleton, reiterated on the occasion USAID's long-term support for competitiveness and economic growth activities in Pakistan.

Mr. Arthur Bayhan, CEO of the Competitiveness Support Fund , in his presentation briefed the audience about the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report on Pakistan and other countries. In particular, he highlighted the importance of the provincial and local leaders to be part of the competitiveness dialogue. The Competitiveness Support Fund is working directly with each region in addressing the key competitiveness issues at the regional level. "The challenge of building competitiveness goes beyond what can be accomplished by the Government's economic team alone and requires the active support and participation of the regional and local leaders, academia and private sector leaders," noted Bayhan.

Mr. Bayhan in his presentation about the salient features of Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) said Pakistan has been consistently improving in terms of competitiveness and dynamism. He said "in Pakistan, the government is the agent and catalyst for change and driving the private sector." He said that the private sector of Pakistan needs to work more on developing the medium and long-term strategies as one of the many steps to improve its competitiveness. He urged also all the government agencies and non-governmental organization to update the data and submit it to international sources.

The Report will serve as an important benchmark against which to measure change in the future.

The event was attended by cabinet members, corporate and business leaders, legislators, senior civil servants and intellectuals from academia and research institutes. The event was also witnessed by a large number of national and international media representatives as well.

Media Contact:
Amir Jahangir

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