32nd Annual General Meeting and Conference CHINA-PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION Organized by PSDE, December 13-15, 2016, Islamabad
ECOSF co-hosted the Conference
The 32nd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) held at Islamabad on December 13, 2016. ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) co-organized the three-day long Conference with Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), with the support of Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms of Pakistan, UNDP, the World Bank, OXFAM, ILO, IUCN, AKRSP, IFPRI and ADB.Theme of the conference was “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Regional Integration”, with the aim to encourage rigorous and evidence based research on the potential benefits of the CPEC for Pakistan and China as well as its regional and global implications.
Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs inaugurated the Conference. In his keynote address, Mr. Aziz said that CPEC is indeed a landmark development and it is hoped that important insights and wisdom will come out of the three-day Conference. He said that the theme of this year’s Conference is very conceptual and practical, which sends a message to a large number of audience including policymakers, investors, and the private sector. Mr. Aziz, while highlighting the success of the present Government, said that we have achieved 4.5% GDP growth this year, which can increase further by overcoming energy shortages. In this regard, energy related projects in CPEC can prove to be very beneficial. Mr. Aziz said that CPEC has far-reaching consequences for the entire world but mainly for the region. He said that China has allowed Pakistan to benefit from the CPEC according to its own priorities the most important of which is energy. Out of the total CPEC investment, dollar 33 billion is in the energy related projects. He stressed the fact that most of this outlay is in the form of investment. Highlighting the importance of the Gwadar Port, which is a part of the CPEC, Mr. Aziz said that developing Gwadar is not only important for Pakistan but also for the development and uplift of Balochistan.
Earlier the presidential address was noted by Dr. Asad Zaman, President PSDE and Vice Chancellor PIDE. Dr. Ejaz Ghani, Secretary PSDE noted welcome remarks and presented Secretary’s report.
President ECO Science Foundation Professor Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro was invited to moderate a special panel discussion: One-Belt-One Road and Regional Integration: Opportunities and Challenges, chaired by Safdar A. Sohail, Executive Director Planning-PIDE, Centre of Excellence, CPEC. The panelists talked about different aspects of CPEC, development and their relationship with the region.Professor Soomro Welcomed the panelists and invited them one by one to speak and finally concluded the panel as CPEC is a flagship project of the Chinese vision of “One-Belt-One-Road” (OBOR). He said that the evolution of this project started many years ago when they realized that many parts of China, mainly Xinjiang, were far from ports. CPEC is a grand concept that would not only connect China but it would also connect the surrounding countries including the land-locked ECO member states. Professor Soomro emphasized that ECO as a whole but especially Central Asia, China, and Pakistan has the potential to lead the world development. OBOR is not only for the sake of trade but also to build institutions to aid in development and integration of the entire region.