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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Pakistan: What does the census mean for urban youth?
By: Dr. Vaqar Ahmed
With the upcoming provisional results of Pakistan’s population census, the country may now be the world’s sixth most populous. The preliminary results show a total population of 207.8 million, compared to 132.4 million in 1998. Some 49 percent of the population are women. The country is fast becoming urbanized, with 75.6 million people now living in cities.

There are three factors driving this urbanization: Urban areas’ natural increase in population, the movement of people from rural to urban areas, and the reclassification of previously rural communities as urban. Over the longer term, perhaps the faster pace of development in urban areas, bringing with it greater job opportunities, is another key factor attracting people, particularly youth.

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan, the total number of youths registered as university students in 2017 is estimated at 1.33 million, of which 0.6 million are female. There are 3,905 technical and vocational institutes in the country, of which 1,514 are for women. There are 0.32 million people enrolled in these technical institutes, 0.11 million of them women.

The Labor Force Survey of Pakistan 2014-15 indicates that labor-force participation among 15-19-year-olds is 47.55 percent for men and 18.01 percent for women. For 19-24-year-olds, the participation rate increases to 82.32 and 25.74 percent, respectively. Despite a low participation rate among women in formal markets, these numbers still represent large human resource potential.

There has been lower demand for Pakistani workers abroad, with many returning from the Gulf. Accommodating these workers at home requires reforms to create more private sector jobs and open urban spaces to startups. This will only happen if pro-business zoning and building regulations are introduced, rental laws are strengthened, and commercialization of idle spaces is allowed. 

This will also better serve Pakistan’s increased number of university graduates, many of whom end up in the services sector. But despite this sector being the largest component in Pakistan’s national income, it still has a low share of exports. Only recently has the federal government committed to put in place a strategy to boost services exports by promoting information, communication technologies and e-commerce. 

There has been lower demand for Pakistani workers abroad, with many returning from the Gulf. Accommodating these workers at home requires reforms to create more private sector jobs.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmed 
Domestic markets continue to suffer from distortions due to a high degree of government participation, excessive and cumbersome regulation, regressive taxation and lack of competition. But e-commerce may provide a way to bypass some of these problems. 

First, the social enterprise revolution in Pakistan, which has given rise to many successful startups in urban areas, may not have been possible without the availability of an increasing number of smartphones in the hands of educated low- and middle-income Pakistanis, and some basic e-commerce platforms in the country. People worldwide are now able to procure products made by these social enterprises in Pakistan. 

Second, e-commerce, as experienced by local purchasers, is relatively more consumer-friendly, at least in transactional terms.

Third, e-commerce has made product and market diversification easier for suppliers. 
Fourth, past beneficiaries of social safety nets are now able to seek help from dedicated e-commerce portals to display their output and see their incomes increase over time.

Finally, young entrepreneurs are now indulging in online freelancing from home, without the need to incur the costs of entering the distorted rental market for offices in urban centers.

These are encouraging prospects for the urban youth, and can be supported via appropriate, inclusive policies that bring down the cost of doing business in Pakistan. Perhaps having a large number of youths online is a great opportunity for the country that should not be missed. 


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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.