Masood lauds role of Pakistani-American entrepreneurs in accelerating economic growth

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Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan says Pakistani American Tech entrepreneurs can act as a catalyst to accelerate growth and investments in Pakistan’s IT and start up sectors.
Speaking at the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) Annual Forum at the Silicon Valley, he said recent uptick in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States has provided a window of opportunity for the Pakistani-Americans to invest in Pakistan.
He noted that both countries had prioritized economic partnership to be the new anchor of bilateral relations and were working together to create opportunities for cooperation in trade, technology, health, energy, agriculture and education.
Briefing the participants on investment opportunities in Pakistan, the Ambassador said that Pakistan’s pivotal geographical location, its extended neighbourhood and its impressive demographic cohorts make it an ideal destination for investment. He noted that around 80 U.S. companies and corporations had been doing business in Pakistan for decades. He said that the Government of Pakistan had taken a number of steps to improve the investment climate in the country, including liberal visa regime, streamlining of taxes and easy repatriation of profits. As a result, he added, U.S. technology investors and venture capitalists were investing in Pakistan’s startup eco-system in e-commerce, fintech, health, retail and supply chains.
He invited the Pakistani-American investors and tech entrepreneurs to take advantage of these positive developments and invest in Pakistan’s IT and technology sectors.
Other speakers on the panel included CEO of Hum Network Limited Duraid Qureshi, Program Manager USAID Pakistan Kanwal Bukhari, and a leading Pakistani-American entrepreneur Naveed Sherwani.
They announced the launching of a fund called “Pakistan Katalytic Fund” of US$ 50 million for investing in Pakistani start-ups.
Earlier, Ambassador Masood Khan gave keynote remarks in a session on Disaster Management through technology. He said that Pakistan had been devastated by a climate-induced catastrophe. More than one third of the country was under water and around 33 million people had been affected. The damages were estimated to be US$ 40 billion. He thanked the U.S. government for its timely and generous support of US$ 97 million as well as the Pakistani Americans for their contributing US$ 27 million to the flood relief efforts. However, he added, more assistance was needed for the critical phases of reconstruction and rehabilitation.
The Ambassador noted that despite being the lowest emitter of Green House Gases (GHGs), Pakistan is the 8th most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change. He said that Pakistan is seeking climate justice for countries most vulnerable to climate change and has advocated the inclusion of loss and damage agenda at COP 27 in Egypt this year.
Speaking on the role of technology to help in disaster management, the Ambassador said that technology can be used for predicting natural disasters, mobilizing support for rehabilitation and creating awareness about preparedness, mitigation and adaptation.
It is pertinent to mention that OPEN Silicon Valley Annual Forum is an annual event organized by the Silicon Valley chapter of OPEN. This year’s event was focused on Fintech, web 3, Startup eco-systems in Pakistan and climate change. It was attended by nearly 2000 participants, including entrepreneurs, businessmen, professionals, academics and students.