Pakistan and U.S. sign action plan on women’s economic empowerment


NEW YORK, June 4 (APP): Pakistan and the United States Friday signed an  action plan on women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment as the two countries ended a major business conference here.

The action plan was signed by the United States Ambassador-at-Large for  Global Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell, and Pakistan’s Additional Secretary of Commerce, Robina Ather, at a simple ceremony on the sidelines of the two-day U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, which was aimed at building business-to-business linkages between U.S. and Pakistani businesses and to generate networking opportunities for them.

Among those present at the ceremony were Commerce Minister Khurram  Dastgir Khan, who led the Pakistan delegation to the conference and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, who headed the American delegation, The action plan stems from a 2014 U.S.-Pakistan Memorandum of  Understanding to enable women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, and will guide and streamline.

A key aspect will be a ‘Women in the Economy Forum’ that consults and  mobilizes private-public partnerships from both countries to coordinate and formulate recommendations.

The two-day conference, the fourth in a series, was the first to be  held in the United States. The previous conferences took place in London, Dubai and Islamabad.

This conference built upon the Joint Action Plan that President Obama  and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif committed to that will increase bilateral trade and investment during the next five years, help modernize Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure, and promote a healthier business climate in Pakistan.

About 300 industry representatives, investors, and government leaders  from the two countries as well as emerging professionals and entrepreneurs attended the conference held in CitiCorp building in mid-town Manhattan.

At a press conference, Khurram Dastgir Khan said that the the fourth  business conference was a “manifestation of that commitment” made by the two leaders. U.S.-Pakistan ties, he added, would mature and deepen in the years ahead.

Replying to a question, he said the Pakistani farmers’ difficulties in  stemmed from falling international commodity prices as they could not sell their produce. Moreover, Pakistan’s agriculture suffered from lack of modern technology, and this problem is being addressed by the government.

In his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted that the conference  was a special opportunity to build new commercial ties that would strengthen the economic link between the United States and Pakistan and make this kind of economic cooperation a lasting institution.

“American firms are excited about doing more business in Pakistan and  for good reason, too,” he said, adding that Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population. Of its 196 million residents, two-thirds were under the age of 30,
“Clearly, this is an attractive market with many strategic advantages  and there is enormous room for growth,” Andrews said. “Yet Pakistan still faces unique challenges in today’s global economy.”