How to be a great Nation?
“The price of greatness is responsibility” — Winston Churchill
There are different definitions of great nation; you will have to make one for yourself. “What defines a great nation?” is a highly subjective question. As the centuries pass, nations and countries will appear and disappear. No defined definition however imprinted onto the minds of a nation will become the only eternal truth. Remember that when someone names a nation as great, you do not have to agree. Make up your own mind and do not let others dictate their truth to you.
To me, the journey of being a great nation starts by choosing a better leader. A leader, who is heart-driven and one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what his country actually needs on every level rather than what corporate sector is demanding.
A leader must be a peacemaker. One, who unites, not divides. A cultured leader always supports true freedom of speech, not censorship. A true leader will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. A leader of a great nation will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. An intelligent leader always chooses diplomacy over war.
Integrity and moral authority are the weapons of a great leader because only a leader with integrity will say what he means and keeps his words and does not lie to his people. Strong, confident yet a humble leader encourages diversity, not racism. He always has the ability to feel the pulse of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist — not only the banker, the oil tycoon, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist?
It is a reality that today’s leaders face opportunities and challenges that we could never have imagined just a decade ago. Clearly the challenge of the day is to nurture and develop ethical leadership in all aspects of society. Without ethical and transparent leadership, there can be no open or civil society.
Real Game Changer
What is a game changer? If I ask you this question your answer will obviously be that an element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way. Now let me ask that what is a real game changer? Definitely that turns around the situation or changes even the rules of the game.
Let us make the horizon broader and observe ‘The Game Changer’ in Pakistan’s perspective. Since I have studied the details of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), I am much confident that now Pakistan is going to be a major regional and global, economic and trade player. Pakistan is becoming a bridge between two departed worlds, China and Europe. An investment of $46 billion, Economic Zones, energy projects and what not and what not will be there.
Some thirty years back in 1984, same excitement was observed when a fate changer project Kala Bagh Dam was started. This dam was supposed to generate 3600 MW electricity. Its cost was just $6 billion and an increase of 30% in revenue of Pakistan was also estimated. Till date PKR 1billion of Pakistan has been spent on this but there is no Kala Bagh dam and we are suffering from chronic energy crisis.
Unfortunately this fate changer became victim of our internal politics and personal conflicts. We could not come out of our ponds and missed the chance to become an ocean. We forgot that we are first Pakistani then we have any other identification.
Today once again, it seems that history is repeating itself on the matter of CPEC. If we do not stand together for Pakistan, coming generations will never forgive us. This is not a project of one province. CPEC will speak national language. I am quite confident that together our political and military leadership will pull Pakistan out of all crises as they have done to strengthen the democracy and smooth transfer of power from one elected government to another. This determination is basically the ‘Real Game Changer’.
Crisis or Opportunity
John F. Kennedy once said “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents crisis and the other represents opportunity”
To some of readers it may be surprising or excessively optimistic to link crisis with opportunity and yet it is not rare to hear strange stories of how nations, communities, and individuals have coped with traumatic circumstances. Unwanted crisis challenge individuals and states to transform, re-evaluate priorities, and may lead to motivating new experiences and directions in growth.
Perceiving the opportunity in crisis requires a larger perspective. It requires observing an ongoing process of development. It is a perspective of seeing the dynamic, ever changing, always evolving quality of life rather than seeing experiences as static events. This perspective is that life moves through us, rather to us, and that there is meaning and purpose in everything. It does not mean that we should completely ignore the dangers and problems of a crises, but we should try to fill the gaps and go for solutions rather regrets and panic.
In Pakistan corruption and bad governance almost ruined the public sector but at parallel private sector filled the gap and contributed to growth of country. In other words private sector explored the opportunity in crisis. Private sector provided the best alternates almost in all sectors like education, health, transport etc. Gradually the jobs in corporate sector are increasing with refinement in systems and mainly focusing on quality assurance.
Here I want to communicate the message to international community that Pakistan is oozing with investment opportunities in almost all the sectors. This is the time when sectors like agriculture, livestock, dairies, energy, tourism, mining, food packaging, pharmacy, logistics, telecom etc. all need growth to meet the needs of this country of 20 million people, a huge market. Fortunately or unfortunately (it is up to you to decide) lack of research and technology advancement has confined the potential of local businessman. So let us move ahead to join hands for business match making and work for a prosperous Pakistan.
How Nations Thrive
Why do some economies flourish, while others perish? Why some economies become huge success, while others scour?
Geography, culture, weather, population, land, sea, natural resources, highly educated population… Sorry in my view none of these factors is either ultimate or fortunate. Plentiful natural resources and an educated workforce can lead to fast economic growth but these are not enough, especially for sustained growth over time when the resources eventually come to an end.
There are many countries around the world — in the Middle East, Asia and even South America having enormous heap of natural resources but have relatively low living standards. Similarly, there are countries with few natural resources that have achieved very high incomes. There is a huge difference between “Availability of Resources” and “Manage- ment of Resources”.
To me, it is the management that makes a difference. True and loyal management leads the countries /economies to grow and boom. This ultimately results in a public welfare state where state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens.
On the other hand it is a reality that economic strength requires political strength. Simultaneously political strength requires economic strength. Both are very closely interlinked and complementary, one paying for the other. Fortunately western economies have achieved this balance.
By grace of Allah Almighty, in Pakistan first transfer of power from one democratic government to another elected government has made the future of democracy very bright. This move has ensured the political stability that will lead to a definite economic stability.
Nature has bestowed Pakistan with great advantages of regional connectivity, resource endowments and soft power strengths. These elements can be used to build sustainable, worthy and strategic partnerships. Pakistan has tremendous potential as an investment destination having necessary infrastructure, institutional base and a democracy growing stronger with each passing day.
I feel proud to share that Pakistan provides relatively strong protection for foreign investors. It has made Bilateral Investment Agreements with Forty Eight (48) countries.
Abridging the Distance
Economists concur that trade among nations can make the world better. Trade contributes to global efficiency. When a country opens up to trade, capital and labor shift to those industries in which they are used more efficiently. This movement provides society a higher level of economic prosperity.
Economic augmentation, driven by the private sector and supported by trade liberalization, must be the key goal of any country. Strong economies take pleasure in prosperity, security, stability and peace.
Foreign investment is crucial for the economy of any country. It improves competition and efficiency, encourages novelty and gives new horizons to grow. A country with strong economy can effectively contribute to regional and global markets.
The parable behind EVOLVE is to create a platform where worldwide businesses and investment opportunities along with profiles of emerging economies, business leaders and growing companies are to be shared.
True to its name, I envision EVOLVE to evolve with each volume into a resourceful magazine for those seeking information concerning investment opportunities in Pakistan and abroad. My ambition for EVOLVE is to have it become a beacon of rich rewards for investors world over. May we all live to see Pakistan what it meant to be – the roaring economic tiger of Asia. May EVOLVE live up to its name and help jump start the lethargic economy of our country. I strongly believe that you will never miss the opportunity to be the part of this inimitable initiative.
Don’t forget to send us your valuable feedback and suggestions that can help EVOLVE in emerging as the first Business & Investment magazine of Pakistan.