CPEC 2.0 to bolster Pakistan’s 5E initiative: Planning Minister

At a seminar held by KASB Ktrade Securities   themed “CPEC 2.0: Business Collaboration Between Pakistan and China”, Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the opportunities of the new phase of CPEC featured by B2B cooperation with a view to the outcomes of Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China earlier this month.

The Planning Minister summarised that over 1000 business meetings were held during PM’s visit to China, which has brought together over 150 companies from Pakistan and over 200 firms in China in a grand business conference.

In terms of the first “E”, exports, he cited the success of sesame seeds and chilies. “The exports of sesame seeds to China just started around 3 years ago, and today we have an export of $300 million. Similarly, exports of chilies have expanded exponentially. There are huge potential for Pakistani products to hit the Chinese market”, he said.

In building E-Pakistan, the Planning Minister mentioned the framework agreement signed with China’s technology giant Huawei during PM’s China trip, under which Huawei will provide free training to 200,000 Pakistani youth in the field of information technology, including artificial intelligence.

Green energy agreements such as hydrogen were also signed, which will empower Pakistan’s endeavor in the 3rd “E”, Energy & Infrastructure. The cooperative projects aiming to promote livelihoods in backward communities in Pakistan were aligned with the “Equity & Empowerment” goal, supporting Pakistan’s efforts in poverty eradication.

Under the framework of cooperation in “Environment & Climate Change”,  he told the audience that 1,000 Pakistani researchers and students will be sent to China to get training in China’s agriculture technology centers and bring technologies back to Pakistan.

In a response to worries of the so-called “downgraded” relations between Pakistan and China, he refuted the narrative by stressing the joint efforts to build an “upgraded” version of CPEC as has been announced by bilateral leadership.

He called for alarm to such propaganda and urged Pakistani businessmen to seize the opportunity of CPEC 2.0. “As Chinese companies are looking for joint ventures in other countries, it provides opportunities for Pakistani businessmen to identify partners in China and attract their industry relocation”, he said.

“We just have to ‘upgrade’ our own efforts to take advantage of the opportunities”, he said, pointing out the necessity for stability and continuity of policies for national development.