The United States’ International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) is keen to involve Pakistan in a regional fund intended for Central Asian Republics (CARs).
This was revealed by IDFC CEO Adam Boehler during a meeting with Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood. Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Atif Riaz Bokhari and Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqi were also in attendance.
IDFC CEO informed the adviser that they intend to start a regional fund for development in CARs that have shown an interest in Pakistan’s involvement in the fund. He informed that IDFC has a $3 billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Discussing various investment opportunities in Pakistan, Dawood apprised the IDFC CEO of the public-private partnership model introduced by the government to relieve the burden of the annual PSDP expenditure.
He continued that Pakistan needs foreign direct investment as it will bring along technology, improvement in productivity, and employment opportunities for the locals.
Pakistan is looking for diversification in FDI as investors from all over the world, irrespective of their country of origin, are provided with a level playing field and equal support from the government.
While giving an overview of Pakistan’s economic relationships with regional countries, the adviser said that Pakistan is already working closely with Afghanistan, particularly on the development of transit trade, with an aim to build long-term economic relationships.
He emphasized the need to enhance economic and trade integration with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs) in order to boost regional connectivity.
Pakistan is also looking for stronger connectivity with Central Asian Republics, which will include the building of not only roads but also the power infrastructure.
The adviser emphasized that Pakistan is a high-cost energy country and with stronger connectivity with CARs, the country could lower these costs for investors and businesses.
He urged the IDFC to play a facilitative role to link these regional countries so that mutual objectives can be achieved.
The adviser also shared the problems faced by the businessmen in Pakistan amid the pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancellation of export orders.
Speaking on specific areas where IDFC can support Pakistan, BOI Chairman Atif Riaz Bokhari talked about the mortgage lending sector, where a joint venture with Pakistani businesses could be established to provide affordable housing solutions to the public.
The chairman stressed the importance of equity investment rather than direct loans, which is a more sustainable approach towards development. He further discussed the development of a Science and Technology Industrial Park in Pakistan and investing in small and medium-scale hydropower projects.