The FODP is an embodiment of our collective determination against the evil mindset; to protect our shared civilization; and to bequeath a better world to posterity (Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi)
FoDP and UAE
The Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) Public-Private Partnership Conference was held in Dubai on January 26. The UAE and Pakistan co-chaired the important forum for the first time in the region. UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan affirmed that the UAE is committed to advance efforts for development and stability in Pakistan to enhance the stability of the region. He showed great commitment for the contribution of the private sector in shouldering the responsibility with governments of member states of FoDP. Outlining the UAE efforts towards supporting Pakistan, Shaikh Abdullah told that the UAE hosted the meeting of senior FoDP officials in November 2008 and the meeting of experts in April 2009. He said that the UAE had pledged $300 million in the Tokyo donor conference in April 2009.
Shaikha Lubna Al Qassimi, minister of foreign trade chaired the last session and reiterated that the UAE would extend full support to Pakistan and its people. The UAE and Pakistan maintain historic established relations based on friendship between peoples of the two countries. The UAE is now Pakistan’s second largest trading partner and the second biggest source of foreign investment and remittances. UAE is as second home for the Pakistanis as over 800,000 of expiates are actively contributing to its development.
It is hoped that a stalled Khalifa coastal refinery project in the city of Hub in which Abu Dhabi has a controlling stake will go ahead. The first phase of the combined project, a $5bn oil refinery in the city of Hub, near Karachi, will proceed after the proposed joint venture partners sign a participation agreement within next eight weeks.
The government of Pakistan presented different projects of worth $110 in the conference. It is estimated that public-private partnership is a vehicle to build partnership between Pakistan and FoDP member countries and international institutions
Turkey assured that it will play a leading role in overcoming the ongoing power shortage in Pakistan’s energy sector. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, said Turkish companies will provide every help in boosting investment in Pakistan’s energy sector. He further said Pakistan needed USD50 billions in the energy sector during next 10 to 15 years as country’s power demand is expected to go up by 6 to 7 percent per annum.
Pakistan believed that some $110 billion in five years time with annual requirement of $22 billion per annum is needed for infrastructure development in energy and power, transport, communication and logistic, mass urban public transport, health and education. Pakistan considered that private participation is considered necessary to achieve the short and long term goals of FoDP. It is public-private participation, which ranges from direct sale or divestiture to private sector, sale of rights and assets with or without public sector’s participation.
The day-long conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from Pakistan, the UAE and 24 other countries in addition to international institutions. United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sweden, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, Norway, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Iran, Germany, France, Denmark, China, Canada and Australia. The Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) was launched in September 2008 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Since its creation FoDP has come a long way since its creation and three ministerial meetings have been held in Abu Dhabi, Tokyo and Istanbul, and a summit meeting in New York last year. The summit was co-chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown in an unprecedented show of solidarity with the people of Pakistan.
It was agreed in FoDP Ministerial Conference Istanbul that strong political will, continuation of inflows of promised funds/pledges and spirits of cooperation, coordination and official commitment endorsing the key sectors of energy, trade, finance, security, institutional capacity building and development in Pakistan. Moreover, expansion in economic opportunities including market access to USA, EU, realising of Tokyo pledges, focus on energy sector development, focusing on social sector development through revitalized Pakistan Development Forum, would be beneficial to FoDP.
Pakistan’s foreign minister statement
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stressed that development programmes in Pakistan’s war-torn areas are an essential part of its fight against Taliban. He said Pakistan’s three-year plan for reconstruction and rehabilitation in Swat, Malakand and other war hit areas will cost $300 million, while the country’s five-year development plan for the same areas carries a $1.2-billion price tag. Furthermore, he promised that Pakistan will press ahead with plans to lease or sell farmland to foreign investors especially the UAE investors and rest of the GCC. Pakistan offered last year to sell or lease 1 million acres 404,700 hectares of farmland to foreign investors. Over 60 percent of Pakistan’s population of 170 million directly or indirectly benefits from agriculture revenues. So every dollar invested in agriculture creates more jobs than any other sector, and that would also helpful to alleviating poverty in Pakistan. Pakistan, a country of over 170 million resilient people, with its prime location straddling South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, is uniquely placed to become a hub of inter-regional economic and commercial activities. Pakistan is blessed with all kinds of resources. It has one of the world’s largest copper and coal reserves. Pakistan has the capacity to produce over 50, 000 MW of additional electricity from run-of-river projects and ability to meet requirements of many countries with proper investments. Pakistan is the fourth biggest producer of milk in the world, but unfortunately a very negligible quantity goes into processing. So we are looking for partners to come forward and take advantage of these excellent opportunities to our mutual benefit.
Several hundred companies from FoDP countries, including China, US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and UAE are present in Pakistan and engaged in diverse small, medium and mega projects in the country. Pakistan offers one of the friendliest foreign investment regimes and public-private partnership frameworks in the world with returns significantly higher and assured.
The Friends of Democratic Pakistan stands for a new thinking for socio-economic growth. It is predicted that strong political commitment, cooperation and coordination among the main participants in FoDP would play key role in the days to come. In this regard, the UAE may play a very role.