Good news on the economic front. According to Daily Times, American President Barack Hussein Obama is encouraging American companies to invest in Pakistan. The article quotes a report from American newspaper Boston Globe which says that US officials have hired a London marketing firm to help convince investors to put their money in Pakistan.
US officials have hired Thatcher + Co, a New York strategic communications firm, which created a brochure listing all that Pakistan has going for it: It’s the world’s sixth-most populous country, with 180 million potential customers. It is English-speaking, democratic, and has a market-driven economy.
“More than 200 international companies are present and succeeding,’’ the brochure says. “There’s room for more.’’
Senior officials of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US agency that encourages emerging markets investment, have made a flurry of trips to Pakistan over the past year to talk about how changes to regulations would attract American businesses.
Among the American officials who are working to bring in new foreign direct investment is the US Ambassador to Pakistan Ms Anne Patterson.
For two hours, she gave them the hard sell about how the risks were overblown, and how great the rewards could be. Near a buffet table of steaming curry, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs listened intently.
But the woman at the podium was not a financial guru. It was Anne Patterson, the US ambassador to Pakistan, who has made it her mission to persuade American businesses to view the troubled South Asian country not as a haven for Al Qaeda, but a vast untapped market capable of delivering double-digit rates of return.
We have seen some promising news about economic improvement such as securing greater access to EU markets, but a key to nationwide economic progress will have to be making global investors feel more confident in the good investment that is Pakistan. Having the US on our side in this regard will be a great help.