Pakistan- Upcoming destination for economic, trade, investment and tourism opportunities

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Geo-economics has increasingly started playing a much bigger role than the traditional geo-politics in international arena. Even the World Powers have started giving more space to geo-economic interests in their foreign policies than anything else. Trade, investment and economy based knowledge are shaping national interests as well as global trends. Booming and ever-expanding private stakeholders have become more influential and have pushed the states to think beyond politics and work for economic interests.

In this global context, Pakistan has launched ‘Economic Outreach Initiative’ and has undertaken a paradigm transformation in its foreign policy, moving from geo-politics-dominated to geo-economics-dominated foreign policy. The idea of this transformation is to explore and connect the economic potentials of Pakistan with rest of the world. Pakistan, while being situated at the crossroads of Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia, offers very unique opportunities for trade, investment, tourism, education, logistics, etc.  Recognizing this massively-untapped economic potential, China has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan in the form of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), major component of China’s One-Belt One-Road Project (OBOR). CPEC is meant to increase the regional connectivity between Asia and Europe to widen commercial avenues. It includes mega projects in different sectors; roads, railways, energy, agriculture, water, industrial infrastructure etc. In addition, China is encouraging many of its businesses to have manufacturing operations in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being constructed across Pakistan under CPEC. Regional political developments are further aiding the economic environment, especially after the end of war in Afghanistan and a more sustainable indigenous government coming to power in Afghanistan. China and interim Afghan Government are also planning to extend CPEC into Afghanistan, which will facilitate/enhance the connectivity upto Central Asian Republics (CARs), thus further enhancing the economic potential of the region as a whole. 

It is relevant to update that Pakistan is an origin of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Europe, USA, the Gulf, East Asia, etc. The CPEC has accelerated the FDI attraction. Pakistan’s export destinations and import origins are across the globe; it is one of the world’s leading destinations for adventurous mountaineering tourism too. Its Information and Communication technology sector is on the boom. Having signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with China, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Pakistan has become relatively bigger market. The unilateral trade concessions granted by the EU, in the form of GSP+ status further expand the market outreach of Pakistan. Its own local market, of over 220 million people, is good enough to satiate any business ventures. The cumulative effect of these factors is attracting international economic players to consider Pakistan as an option of businesses/investment in future. Avenues for bilateral and plurilateral interactions are increasing. Jordan as well as all Middle East countries can benefit from multilateral forums of this positively ever-changing situation, particularly from trade, investment and services perspectives. 

From Investment point of view, Pakistan has highlighted the following priority sectors for FDI: food processing, logistics, textiles, automobiles, Information Technology, Housing and Construction, Tourism and Hospitality. A comprehensive incentives package for investment, available on  HYPERLINK “”, in these sector has been approved. Even a detailed list of recommended projects for FDI is available on  HYPERLINK “” \l “/” In services sector, the potential is even bigger, particularly in tourism, ICT, finance and environment. 

Pakistan’s Information and Communication Technology sector is also one of the most booming sectors. Pakistan has 162 million cellular subscribers, 71 million 3G/4G subscribers, 73 million broadband subscribers and 3 million basic telephone subscribers. In order to widen and strengthen IT-related infrastructure, Pakistan has established Software and IT Parks in major cities. Every year, more than 18,000 IT graduates pass out from educational institutes of Pakistan. 

Financial institutions have been increasing in number and growing in size which testifies the hidden treasure in this field. Pakistan still needs to have much more investment and efforts in this sector to meet the banking/ financial needs of its over 220 million population. Although a good number of banks and insurance companies are already there, still a huge potential exits. Finance, banking and insurance stakeholders in Jordan and across the globe should see Pakistan as an ideal destination for their business ventures, particularly in context of ever-expanding local financial market viz-a-viz booming population and increasing regional connectivity due to CPEC. Institutions based in Pakistan would benefit from the commercial activities taking place among the business stakeholders of China, Central Asia and Middle East.

For tourism, Pakistan has four seasons in a year, affordable ‘Halal Food’ and lodging, hospitable people. Pakistan has all the potentials to satiate the tourism instinct of Jordanians and nature loving international tourists. Pakistan has an ideal topography: ice-capped lofty mountains, beautiful hills, dense forests, deserts, lush green fields, densely populated cities, about 1,024 km long coastal line, fresh icy water rivers and canals.

Environment can also be a point of cooperation in future. Pakistan has launched an ambitious ‘Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project’ supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to revive forest and wildlife resources in Pakistan and to improve the overall conservation of the existing Protected Areas; encourage eco-tourism, community engagement and job creation through conservation. 

Contributed by: Trade & Investment Section, Embassy of Pakistan, Amman, Jordan

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