By Max Clarke
Over 80 business representatives from the UK and Pakistan attended a ‘Doing Business in Pakistan’ event at Lancaster House in London today.
Currently Pakistan has been labelled by Goldman Sachs as a 'Next 11' nation: a future world dominating economy, and as it is currently a G20 member, Pakistan's global importance is considerable.
And with over 170 million inhabitants and 1,000 km of coastline, Pakistan's scope for development is huge; though persistant high unemployment and local instability are current impediments for growth.
Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green, speaking a day after the launch of the UK Government’s Trade and Investment White Paper, said:
“Pakistan will be one of the world’s drivers of growth in years to come, notwithstanding some of the challenges of the present.
“For UK companies deciding on which export markets to target, it is important that they look to those markets that are experiencing growth. There are significant opportunities for partnership between UK and Pakistan firms and I would encourage businesspeople to explore these with the help of UK Trade & Investment.”
Pakistan’s Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Investment Saleem Mandviwalla also spoke at the event, alongside British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson and Pakistan High Commissioner to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan.
The UK is committed to strengthening its strategic relationship with Pakistan, including a growing trade and investment relationship. Bilateral trade is already worth more than £1 billion annually and over 100 British companies are operating successfully in Pakistan.
Major British players include Unilever, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and Barclays. Karachi also has the largest purpose-built Toni & Guy hair salon in the world.
The Chief Executive of Hubco Power, Vince Harris, who spoke at the event about doing business in Pakistan, said:
“In the constant challenging and dynamic environment of Pakistan, HUBCO over the years has consistently rewarded investors with a stream of attractive half-yearly dividends and a share price profile at or above the Karachi Stock Exchange market, which has given confidence to the shareholders to expand the business with the building of two additional power plants, taking the company to a US$2 billion total investment.”