Egypt to invest $1 billion in Pakistan, says envoy

A high level business delegation from Egypt in a meeting with Chairman BOI, Syed Zubair Gillani at BOI on October 03, 2019. (APP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Egypt to invest $1 billion in Pakistan, says envoy

  • Pakistan optimistic the investment will bring new jobs, says BoI chairman
  • The two countries have established a joint working group on trade to explore new opportunities — Egyptian envoy

ISLAMABAD: Egyptian companies are ready to invest $1 billion mainly in Pakistan’s energy, infrastructure, halal food, and tourism sectors, said Ahmed Fadel Yacoub, the Egyptian ambassador to Pakistan, on Monday.

“It is from the private sector,” the envoy explained while talking to Arab News over the phone from Islamabad. “Investment projects will begin in the next one year. The understanding was reached during the visit of two high-profile business delegations from Egypt to Pakistan during the month of October.”

Yacoub further said the first delegation visited Pakistan in the first week of October.

“Representatives of big (Egyptian) companies met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and senior officials of relevant ministries. The second delegation came to Islamabad last week and interacted with ministers, state functionaries and members of chambers of commerce,” said the envoy.

The Egyptian companies El Sewedy Electric, which expressed its intention of investing $500 million in Pakistan’s energy sector, and Al Suwaidi Group discussed different projects related to infrastructure and housing.

 “From the information provided by the representatives [of these companies], the investment would be approximately $1 billion,” he added.

The ambassador informed that Pakistan and Egypt had set up the first joint working group last week in Islamabad to identify and explore more opportunities.

“Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Egypt’s Commercial Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of the Pakistan-Egypt Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade. The first meeting of the JWG was held on the sidelines of a trade conference organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Textile in Islamabad last week.”

A high-level delegation of officials and businessmen from Egypt, led by First Undersecretary of Egyptian Commercial Service Ahmed Anter, visited Islamabad to attend the conference held on Oct 16 -17.

Chairman of Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BoI) Zubair Gilani told Arab News that Islamabad welcomed this initiative of Egyptian companies since it would help enhance economic relations between the two countries.

“There were a series of meetings taking place between BoI officials and Egyptian delegates wherein different investment options came under discussion. We are very optimistic that this will bring new jobs to Pakistan,” he said.

Gilani noted that Egyptian companies were interested in the construction sector as representatives of Al Suwaidi Group discussed different projects related to that area earlier this month.

“We can cooperate with each other in construction since this group has a good reputation for building low-cost housing schemes. Egyptians have also shown interest in livestock, halal food, and agriculture sectors, so we are ready to facilitate them,” he added.

Badar Haroon, former senior vice president of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI), said Pakistani companies were ready to collaborate with Egyptian firms and get into joint ventures.

“I attended the meeting of an Egyptian delegation with RCCI members last week and we assured them that we were ready for joint ventures or extend them any other help,” Haroon told Arab News, adding that the visiting delegation discussed investment projects in health, textile, agriculture, and surgical equipment.

“The country, as well as the business community, will benefit from this investment since whenever money is injected in the market it helps generate a ripple effect that helps other businesses as well.”

OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

Updated 14 November 2019

OIC offers scholarships under education exchange program

  • The scheme is highly beneficial for Pakistani students, says the HEC chairman
  • COMSTECH spends $250,000 annually on scholarships for Muslim countries

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s education exchange program was highly beneficial since it allowed students to engage with scholars and experts in other countries, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan Dr. Tariq Banuri told Arab News on Thursday.
The commission recently advertised on its website the Turkish Cypriot Government’s scholarships under the OIC Educational Exchange Program, starting the next academic year.
According to the details provided by the HEC, five students from OIC member states, including Pakistan, would avail the opportunity to study at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in the participating universities.
“Such international learning and knowledge propel students toward acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives,” Dr. Banuri told Arab News on the phone, adding the exchange programs brought additional skills, cultural diversity and exposure to other problems and issues.
The HEC chairman informed that the competition for such scholarships was growing, noting that programs like these increased an individual’s “capability to compete in the global job market, created potential contacts for collaborative research and resulted in additional certifications and degrees.”
In order to promote dialogue among civilizations and to provide academic links between the 57 OIC member states, the international organization had started an education exchange program in 2005 which became fully operational in 2015.
Dr. Qasim Jan, adviser to the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Islamabad, told Arab News that there was an immense need to promote cooperation in the field of education among Islamic countries, and the OIC education exchange program was a positive step in that direction.
“Education, especially in science and other technological disciplines, has become a nation’s basic need since a country’s economy is directly associated with technological developments in the modern world,” he noted. “If we look at developed economies like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other western European countries, they do not have much resources but are economic powers due to the knowledge economy that mostly derives from scientific education.”
Dr. Jan said that COMSTECH was providing substantial support to OIC member states in the field of science and technology. He also informed that his organization was contributing in the development of human resource to serve the Muslim world.
“We are spending $250,000 on scholarships annually which are provided to students from 57 Islamic countries,” he continued. “We have also been arranging trainings and workshops for people belonging to the OIC member states. The bulk of our budget comes from the Pakistan government, though we also get financial support from some OIC member countries, including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.”