In his first address in the UAE, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan told investors and government officials alike to invest in the South Asian economy or rue a missed opportunity.
“Invest now in Pakistan while you can, while it is still at the beginning of it’s upswing. Don’t miss the boat,” he said.
“We’re improving our governance to not repeat the mistakes of the 70s and later, we’ve signed visa on arrival agreements with 70 countries, promoting our vast potential in tourism... We’re on the way up,” he said.
Cricket player turned politician, Khan became Pakistan’s prime minister less than a year ago after a 22-year campaign against corruption by the elite in the country.
In his first six months in office, Khan’s government managed to bring the country back from the bankruptcy, in large part due to bailout packages amounting to upwards of $12bn from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and an undisclosed agreement with China.
Khan has also embarked on a spate of reforms meant to modernise Pakistan’s economy and open it up to new revenue streams.
However Khan’s reforms programme and anti-graft drive has led to discontent in some quarters in the country, not in small part due to an increase in the cost of utilities, and an increase in consumer inflation due to a sharp decline in the value of the Pakistani Rupee.
Khan acknowledged that his efforts have led to challenges domestically. “Reforms do lead to some suffering. But you have to go through it because it’s like surgery and it hurts before getting better,” he said. “But the worst thing you can do is delay it.”
The WGS is being held in Dubai until February 12 and will see keynote addresses from the chair of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, celebrity life coach and business consultant Tony Robbins, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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