BRI promises more resilience: Former CPEC Director
ISLAMABAD, Apr. 3 (Gwadar Pro)- “The 5 percent economic growth target set by China for 2023 is good news for the global economy as well as many BRI partners as Chinese economic growth can be a stimulus for rejuvenation. Its rapid recovery after a decisive victory against COVID-19 is of immense importance for the world in general and for BRI region in particular,” highlighted Dr. Hassan Daud Butt, Associate Professor and former Project Director of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Hassan Daud Butt [Photo provided to Gwadar Pro]
“Undoubtedly, China has already become an indispensable locomotive of the global economy,” Dr. Hassan recollected his visit to China in 2022, when “prominent changes were overwhelming, including rapid advances in areas such as green infrastructure, high-tech manufacturing, robotics and its commercial applications. Obviously, Chinese people are always willing to embrace new technologies, as well as share them with the world.”
In Dr. Hassan’s view, the success of the Chinese development model is a good example for Pakistan and other BRI countries to learn to develop their own path. “China has lifted 100 million people out of poverty. What can Pakistan study from this? In my point of view from three dimensions; first, the speed of reforms. The high speed and efficiency of the Chinese reform could be regarded as a model for the world as all this was achieved in three decades only which is unprecedented in human history. Next, Chinese government views infrastructure as a pillar. The construction of modern infrastructure such as 5G, big data centers and green energy systems are mushrooming. Thirdly, the Chinese government’s people-oriented policy, as decision-makers across the world should really think about poverty and unemployment issues from the perspective of the people. It is crucial to start from the perspective of ordinary people, and not from the top.”
Responding to a question on how does Pakistan explore a targeted solution? Dr Hassan indicated that a more open market should be the highest priority followed by accelerating the speed of technological advancement and innovation for which BRI is a great platform. “Pakistan has natural endowment in several mining products as well as in agriculture, and dairy products for which mechanism may be developed so that more products should be delivered and showcased to the markets of China and other BRI countries.” Also, he added that it is critical to diversify sourcing and product markets. Similarly, competitive incentives may be offered to attract investments in renewable energy.
Besides, getting out of poverty also means feeding more people by utilizing new agricultural technologies. The reporter was told that it is well known that Pakistan is suffering from climate change, which has exacerbated poverty. Local agricultural systems must be made more resilient to withstand the chain reaction. Simultaneously, deeper agricultural cooperation with China, such as facility agriculture, and germplasm research, can help Pakistan improve land use efficiency and enhance resilience.
Except for structural poverty, the economic crisis brought about by external risks also threatening the financial security of Pakistan. Because of the lack of US dollars, Pakistan mires in foreign exchange shortage every two or three years. Hereon, Dr Hassan reiterated the key role of the BRI and the CPEC. “If more Pakistani products can enter China and other countries in the region, we will be able to earn more precious foreign exchange. Also, we must diversify our economic landscape, such as introducing more currency settlement models, such as RMB, especially in special economic zones and free trade zones under the CPEC framework.”
“All in all, the BRI and CPEC have brought more opportunities to Pakistan, but for us, how to seize them next? Establish cooperation zones and attract investments through a more stable business environment for which government role as well as of the business chambers and bodies is vital. The stability that aims to increase Pakistan’s participation and benefit from the initiatives like BRI and SCO are imperative as going forward Pakistan will have to explore new avenues, utilize Gwadar port and special economic zones, attract investment from a third party, explore the potential in FTA and promote cooperation in agriculture and sci-tech.”