Pakistan’s economy on the rise on back of political stability, middle class, improved security


WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (APP) Pakistan’s economy is on the rise and the country is presenting a vital success story due to an improved security climate, relative political stability and a growing middle class, says an article in the prestigious newspaper, the Washington Post published on Wednesday.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army have gotten a reasonable handle on the deteriorating security climate, the opinion article said written by Afshin Molvai, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
After the 2013 elections, Prime Minister Sharif ‘entered office as the great global transformation taking place worldwide, of technological connectivity, rapid urbanization and rising middle class consumption — continued to churn. And Pakistan has not missed that train’.
As Pakistan turns a corner, Trump administration policymakers fixated on the terrorism threat just might miss this extraordinary opportunity in a country that has long been a terror bane,” the report said.
The article identified three key factors that were driving Pakistan’s economic awakening. It said that despite the most recent terror attacks, there security climate in the country has improved.
The other two factors were “relative political stability and a growing middle class”.
These three interlocking pieces are fueling Pakistan’s growth story, a vital story given the size and geopolitical weight of the nuclear-armed South Asian nation of nearly 200 million people.
The article said that today Pakistan’s stock market boasted the best stock market in Asia in 201; Pakistan is winning plaudits from the International Monetary Fund, and the economy is forecast to grow a healthy 5.2 percent in 2017, according to the World Bank.
In mid-May, the world’s largest research-based provider of index funds, MSCI, will officially upgrade Pakistan from its frontier-market category to the more prestigious — and well-capitalized “emerging market index”.
The upgradation will make Pakistan join 23 other countries on the index that represents 10 percent of world capitalization.
Pakistan’s middle-class is playing an important role which, according to some estimates, accounts for more than half of the population. “Brookings Institution scholar Homi Kharas argues that Pakistan’s consumer middle-class market could hit $1 trillion by 2030,’ the report added.
These middle classes are also attracting foreign investment and large multinational consumer companies, such as Nestle and Procter & Gamble, are earning an impressive 25 percent rate of return on their investment.
That bullishness has led Pakistan to enter the emerging-markets acronym vernacular. One of the latest post-BRICS acronyms of rising economies making the rounds: VARP, for Vietnam, Argentina, Romania and Pakistan. Yes, that Pakistan.