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Daily Times

Published Date: Sep 4, 2012


The overarching theme for the ‘Fifth South Asia Economic Summit 2012’ being held here from September 11 is ‘Making Growth Inclusive and Sustainable in South Asia’ and it would focus on framing observations and recommendations for the 18th SAARC Summit to be held in Nepal next year.

This was stated by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Head Economic Growth Unit Dr Vaqar Ahmed while briefing media persons about the upcoming regional economic summit on Monday. He said the summit would discuss chronic economic challenges faced by South Asia and find regional solutions to meet sustainable development goals in the region.

Sharing details, Dr Ahmed informed that the summit starting from September 11 to 13 here will host 200 delegates from South Asia whereas around 3,000 people are participating in the event from all across Pakistan. The event organised by SDPI marks one of the largest convergences of high-level policymakers in Pakistan with the participation of honourable ministers, senior government policy makers, economists, academician, businessmen, and civil society representatives. President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to inaugurate the event whereas Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar would address the closing ceremony as chief guest.

“South Asia is the least economically integrated region in the world, which necessitates greater regional economic cooperation for pro-poor growth and sustainable development in the region,” said Dr Ahmed. He also said that through this summit, we want to make the statement that despite security conditions, Pakistan is open for business and ready for investment. He briefed participants on the importance of the summit in backdrop of issues such as negative effects of global and eurozone financial crisis, non-traditional security threats, basic infrastructure and social services in the region, lack of communication connectivity and engaging youth and diaspora.

Started in 2008, the South Asia Economic Summit (SAES) engaged leading policymakers from South Asian to discuss a regional approach to issues of mutual concern and also to learn from home grown solutions to common predicaments that can be replicated elsewhere in South Asia. Over the past four years, this event has become the ‘South Asian Davos’ following the example of World Economic Forum. The previous summit’s were held in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Bangladesh respectively.

This year’s summit linking leading policy makers, politicians and civil-servants with the experts already involved in Track-I and Track-II level of South Asian development agenda, delivers a framework for multi-sector collaboration.

Key leaders in this year’s summit include Indian Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, Sri Lankan Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Sarath Amunugama, Minister and Senior Adviser for Economic Affairs to President of Afghanistan Sham L Bathija, Adviser International Affairs to Prime Minister of Bangladesh Gowher Rizvi, Central Bank of Nepal Governor Yuba Raj Khatiwada, former Indian foreign secretary and SACEPS Co-Chairman Muchkund Dubey, Human Development Report, United Nations, New York, Director Khalid Malik, Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations, New York, former director Tariq Banuri, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, India President Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Sri Lankan Institute of Policy Studies Executive Director Saman Kelegama, Bangladesh former finance minister Syeduzzaman, International Food Policy Research Institute Senior Research Fellow Shahidur Rashid, Afghanistan Civil Society’s Coordination Centre Mirwais Rahimzai and World Bank South Asia Chief Economist Kalpana Kochhar besides a large number of other delegates.