Islamabad, April 11, 2014 (PPI-OT):
Excellency Premier Li Keqiang,
Distinguished Mr. Yasuo FUKUDA, Chairman, Boao Forum for Asia
Honorable Mr. Zhou Wenzhong, Secretary General of BOAO Forum,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a matter of great honour and privilege for me to speak at this august gathering.
Since its inception, the Boao Forum has transformed itself into a globally recognized platform contributing to evolving ideas that truly reflect the voice of Asia, on global economic issues.
I wish to congratulate the Government of the People’s Republic of China for providing this opportunity to the leaders from friendly countries to gather here in this beautiful island and discuss measures necessary to keep pace with the changing trends of global economy.
I also want to congratulate the Organizing Committee of the Boao Forum on the successful holding of this conference.
The current Conference of Boao Forum for Asia is taking place at a critical juncture in our times. Recently, we witnessed the worst financial crisis of modern history that crippled the global economy. On the other hand, we are witnessing a transition of economic power from West to East, as Asia is increasingly becoming the powerhouse of the global economy.
I am certain that our discussion today on “Asia’s New Future: Identifying New Growth Drivers” and the subsequent meetings in this picturesque town, will offer fresh perspectives and open up new horizons.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The forces of globalization, urbanization and innovation in technology, are changing not only the destiny of Asia, but also the entire world.
Over the years, Asia has become a leading player of the global economy, with Emerging Asian economies growing at twice the average growth rate in other regions.
The dynamism of this continent, which is home to more than four billion people, is indeed remarkable. China is, of course, a major stimulant to this remarkable phenomenon.
Despite stagnant growth rates in various parts of the industrialized world and the massive shocks faced by the international financial system since 2008, China has consistently registered high growth rates. This remarkable growth augurs well for all of us.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have recently witnessed a recession that adversely affected the global economy.
Consequently, faith in the global economy was shattered, as people lost their jobs, corporations were declared bankrupt, banks became insolvent and housing prices plummeted.
Social and political consequences that accompanied this crisis were not limited to a region.
The recession and the financial crisis, despite all associated pains must be a lesson learnt. One key lesson is that our destinies are linked together and that common development can be pursued only through a coordinated effort.
Based on our shared experience of navigating through turbulent times, I will offer four elements as new growth drivers for Asia.
ONE, maintenance of peace and security is critical to economic growth as peace and development are strongly linked. For an interconnected global economy, any armed conflict can be devastating. Conflict prevention and conflict resolution should, therefore, be accorded high priority. We must strengthen peace mechanisms to ensure economic growth.
TWO, Regional Connectivity needs to be the most important driver of steady growth for developing countries of Asia in this decade. We must strive for greater regional connectivity, particularly through roads, rails and the sea-lanes. As we all know, infrastructure development stimulates investment, provides job opportunities and connects billions of consumers.
I feel honoured to share the common resolve of Pakistan and China to take a lead in creating regional connectivity links. Jointly, we are pursuing our common dream of building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which would enhance economic and trade cooperation, promote economic integration, and foster economic development of the two countries.
THREE, investment in research, development and technological innovation is essential for Asia’s economic growth. Developing countries, which often lag behind in the technology ladder, should be assisted with technology transfer in critical areas.
FOURTH, Asian countries are blessed with a huge asset that is its Youth. By creating more economic opportunities for our youth, we can achieve a miracle. Our youth is committed, talented and dynamic. In Pakistan, we have launched a number of schemes for youth, like Easy Loan schemes for starting new businesses, and scholarships for pursuing higher studies. We intend to invest more in our youth, as we believe this great asset would be the real driver of future growth.
FINALLY, all our growth strategies would be futile without investment in green energy technologies and closer attention to clean environment and sustainable development. Faced with challenges of urbanization, Asia must prudently address demographic pressures on the environment.
Ladies and Gentleman,
The salient points that I have laid down for Asia are also being pursued in the context of Pakistan. We are striving for a peaceful neighbourhood, by focusing on settlement of disputes and improving regional security.
Since assuming office last year, the economic policies chartered by my government have started producing results.
After reducing acute energy shortfall by clearing liabilities in the electricity sector, we embarked upon an economic rebuilding plan last year. We presented an austerity budget by cutting wasteful expenditure and abolished discretionary grants and minimized subsides. To increase the business footprint in the country, we have a deregulation plan in place that includes a greater role for private equity in business.
Pakistan is emerging from the ravages of the war on terror, which inflicted immeasurable damage on our economy in the last one decade. The Pakistan of 2014 is a confident country, open for business, trade and investment. We assure you ease of business and healthy dividends on your investment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The sagacious leadership of China is overseeing rapid strides in the Chinese economy. This, I am sure, would help reinforce Asian and global economic growth.
In China, it is said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. The step taken by China’s great leader, Deng Xiaoping in 1978, led to a reform process that has put China on the road to “the Chinese dream”, which has been articulated with great clarity by President Xi Jinping.
Asia can also begin a similar journey of prosperity by taking the single step of collective approach, in addressing shared challenges and by win-win cooperation.
This century is destined to be the Asian century. Our people have worked hard, to bring us to this point, from where we can plan for a better tomorrow. Realization of this dream, lies in enhanced regional connectivity and integration.
Trans-national roads, rails, oil and gas pipelines, institutions of higher learning, centers of excellence of scientific innovation and better performing financial sector would be real drivers of growth for Asia in the coming years.
Destinies has made us neighbours and put us together, let us now make conscious efforts to build a harmonious region, through mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development. We strongly believe that shared prosperity is the real prosperity.
I wish BOAO Forum Asia 2014, great success.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan