Sunday, December 16, 2018

AI Research Funded By Silicon Valley NEDians at Their Alma Mater in Karachi

Koshish Foundation, an organization funded primarily by NED University Alumni in Silicon Valley, helped fund Koshish Foundation Research Lab (KFRL) in Karachi back in 2014. It has since received additional funding from numerous national and international organizations including DAAD,  German Academic Exchange Service. The lab has been renamed RCAI- Research Center For Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Applications
In a letter addressed to NEDians Suhail Muhammad and Raghib Husain,  the RCAI director Dr. Muhammad Khurram said, "I would really like to thank you (and Koshish Foundation) who helped me in making things happen in the start. Still, a lot needs to be done."

Dr. Ata ur Rahman Khan, former chairman of Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC), believes there is significant potential to grow artificial intelligence technology and products. In a recent Op Ed in The News, Dr. Khan wrote as follows:

"Pakistan churns out about 22,000 computer-science graduates each year. With additional high-quality training, a significant portion of these graduates could be transformed into a small army of highly-skilled professionals who could develop a range of AI products and earn billions of dollars in exports."

It's notable that Pakistan's tech exports are growing by double digits and surged past $1 billion in fiscal 2018, according to State Bank of Pakistan.

Dutch publication innovationorigins.com recently featured a young Pakistani Tufail Shahzad from Dajal village in Rajanpur District in southern Punjab. Tufail has studied artificial intelligence at universities in China and Belgium.  He's currently working in Eindhoven on artificial intelligence (AI) projects as naval architect and innovation manager at MasterShip Netherlands.

There is at least one Pakistani AI-based startup called Afiniti, founded by serial Pakistani-American entrepreneur Zia Chishti. Afiniti has recently raised series D round of $130 million at $1.6 billion valuation, according to Inventiva. Bulk of the Afiniti development team is located in Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore. In addition, the company has development team members in Islamabad and Karachi.

Afiniti uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to enable real-time, optimized pairing of individual call center agents with individual customers in large enterprises for best results. When a customer contacts a call center, Afiniti matches his or her phone number with any information related to it from up to 100 databases, according to VentureBeat. These databases carry purchase history, income, credit history, social media profiles and other demographic information. Based on this information, Afiniti routes the call directly to an agent who has been determined, based on their own history, to be most effective in closing deals with customers who have similar characteristics.

This latest series D round includes former Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg; Fred Ryan, the CEO and publisher of the Washington Post; and investors Global Asset Management, The Resource Group (which Chishti helped found), Zeke Capital, as well as unnamed Australian investors. Investors in Afiniti's C series round included GAM; McKinsey and Co; the Resource Group (TRG); G3 investments (run by Richard Gephardt); Elisabeth Murdoch; Sylvain Héfès; John Browne, former CEO of BP; Ivan Seidenfeld; and Larry Babbio, a former president of Verizon. The company has now raised more than $100 million, including the money previously raised, according to VentureBeat's sources.

Drone is an example of artificial intelligence application. It now a household word in Pakistan. Drones outrage many Pakistanis when used by Americans to hunt militants and launch missiles in FATA. At the same time, drones inspire a young generation of students to study artificial intelligence at 60 engineering colleges and universities in Pakistan. It has given rise to robotics competitions at engineering universities like National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and my alma mater NED Engineering University. Continuing reports of new civilian uses of drone technology are adding to the growing interest of Pakistanis in robotics.

Dr. Ata ur Rehman Khan rightly argues in his Op Ed that AI should be an area of focus for research and development in Pakistan. He says that "the advantage of investing in areas such as artificial intelligence is that no major investments are needed in terms of infrastructure or heavy machinery and the results can become visible within a few years".  "Artificial intelligence will find applications in almost every sphere of activity, ranging from industrial automation to defense, from surgical robots to stock-market assessment, and from driverless cars to agricultural sensors controlling fertilizers and pesticide inputs", Dr. Khan adds.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

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Pakistan's Tech Exports Surge Past $1 Billion in FY 2018

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pakistan is the World's Biggest Importer of Used Clothes

Back in the winter of 1977 when I made preparations to travel to the United States to attend graduate school, my late mother took me to Karachi's "Landa Bazar" to help me pick out imported extra warm second hand clothing. The purchased item appeared to be brand new, especially after dry-cleaning. I would not have survived my first months in New York without the winter coats and jackets and accessories like caps, gloves and boots bought in Karachi, Pakistan. A recent look at the Statista stats portal's 2017 data revealed that Pakistan imported $240 million worth of used clothing making it the world's largest importer in this category.

Landa Bazars in Pakistan:

A Pakistani newspaper headline last week screamed "Sale Of Second Hand Warm Clothes Picks Up In Landa Bazars Hyderabad". Landa Bazars is the name of "flea markets" that specialize in selling used clothes and they do brisk business at the start of each winter. These markets are found in all major cities and cater to middle-class and poor customers looking for moderately priced warm clothing for a couple of weeks of cold weather. Pakistan has a huge domestic textile industry that meets the needs of the people with relatively cotton clothing for the rest of the year. Pakistan is also a big exporter of ready made garments.

Top Importers of Secondhand Clothing. Source: Statista

The second hand clothing that I used in my first few months in the United States in the winter of 1977-78 was purchased at Karachi's Landa Bazar. The purchased item appeared to be brand new, especially after dry-cleaning.  In the next winter season when a new batch of Indian and Pakistani students came to the campus, I passed these on to those who came unprepared my heavy winter coat and jacket.

Landa Bazar (Flea Market) in Pakistan


Second Hand Clothing Trade:

Used clothing exports added up to $3.67 billion in 2016, according to MIT's Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

The top exporters of Used Clothing included the United States ($648M), Germany ($371M), the United Kingdom ($348M), China ($219M) and South Korea ($214M). The top importers in 2016 were Pakistan ($206M), Ukraine ($166M), Kenya ($131M), Malaysia ($129M) and Ghana ($126M).

Second Hand Clothing in United States:

Americans donate used clothes, including slightly used clothes hanging in their closets, to charities such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. These donations pick up during holidays when people clear out their closets to make room for new purchases. American tax law encourages such charitable donation which are tax-deductible. Some of these used clothes are sold by charities at stores like Goodwill stores and Salvation Army thrift stores and the rest are exported.

America's secondhand clothing business has been export-oriented since the introduction of mass-produced gar­ments. And by one estimate, used clothing is now the United States’ number one export by volume, according to Slate.com.

Summary:

Global trade of secondhand clothing is near $4 billion a year. United States is the biggest exporter and Pakistan is the biggest importer of used clothing.  The second hand clothing that I used in my first few months in the United States in the winter of 1977-78 was purchased at Karachi's Landa Bazar. The purchased item appeared to be brand new, especially after dry-cleaning.  In the next winter season when a new batch of Indian and Pakistani students came to the campus, I passed these on to those who came unprepared my heavy winter coat and jacket.  Landa Bazars is the name of "flea markets" that specialize in selling used clothes and they do brisk business at the start of each winter. These markets are found in all major cities and cater to middle-class and poor customers looking for moderately priced warm clothing for a couple of weeks of cold weather. Pakistan has a huge domestic textile industry that meets the needs of the people with relatively cotton clothing for the rest of the year.

Related Links:









Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pakistan Media Crisis: Facts and Myths

Why are Pakistan media groups laying off employees and shutting down TV channels? Is it caused by Pakistan government cutbacks in advertising? Is it part of the PTI government's alleged efforts to censor media? Or part of the long overdue industry shake-out after almost two decades long un-interrupted media business expansion?

Pakistan Ad Spending. Source: Aurora/Dawn


How much was the Nawaz Sharif led PMLN government spending on advertising? Did Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi increase media advertising budgets to buy favorable coverage at taxpayers' expense?

Are Pakistan government and national security establishment unique in wanting to manage media coverage? Do Western government manage media as well? If so, how? How do their media management techniques differ?

Global Advertising Growth 2016. Source: Magna

What is the future of media in Pakistan as the Internet penetration grows dramatically with 1-2 million more people coming online each month? Will greater spending on digital ads change journalism in Pakistan? Will more journalists take to social media and other online platforms as business?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Sabahat Ashraf and Riaz Haq.


https://youtu.be/Nz1axuB5j-Q





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

FMCG Growth in Pakistan

Is Media Free?

Pakistan Retail Sales Growth

Advertising Revenue in Pakistan

Pakistan FMCG Market

The Other 99% of Pakistan Story

PSL Cricket League Revenue

E-Commerce in Pakistan

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

Mobile Broadband Speed in Pakistan

Remittances From Pakistani Diaspora Soared 21X Since Year 2000

Remittance inflows from Pakistani diaspora have jumped 21-fold from about $1 billion in year 2000 to $21 billion in 2018, according to the World Bank. In terms of GDP, these inflows have soared nearly 7X from about 1% in year 2000 to 6.9% of GDP in 2018.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's exports have declined from 13.5% of GDP in year 2000 to 8.24% of GDP in 2017.  At the same time, the country's import bill has increased from 14.69% in year 2000 to 17.55% of GDP in 2017.  This growing trade imbalance has forced Pakistan to seek IMF bailouts four times since the year 2000.  It is further complicated by external debt service cost of over $6 billion (about 2% of GDP) in 2017. Foreign investment in the country has declined from a peak of $5.59 billion (about 4% of GDP) in 2007 to a mere $2.82 billion (less than 1% of GDP) in 2017. While the current account imbalance situation is bad, it would be far worse if Pakistani diaspora did not come to the rescue.

Diaspora Remittances:

Estimated inflows of $20.9 billion make Pakistan the world's 7th largest recipient of remittances for 2018, according data released by the World Bank in its latest "Migration and Remittances" report of December 2018.  In South Asia region, Pakistan is the second largest recipient of remittances of $20.9 billion after top-ranked India's $79.5 billion.

Pakistan Remittances in Millions of US Dollars. Source: World Bank

Remittances from Pakistani diaspora have grown nearly 21-fold since the year 2000.  Pakistanis sent home remittances adding up to 6.9% of the country's GDP in 2018, up from 1% back in year 2000.

Pakistan's Trade:

In 2017, Pakistan exported goods and services worth $22 billion while it imports amounted to $57 billion, a trade deficit of $35 billion for the year. This is a dramatic deterioration from about $2 billion trade deficit (2% of GDP) in year 2000 to $35 billion trade deficit (about 12 % of GDP) in year 2017.

Pakistan Trade Deficit in Billions of US$. Source: World Bank


Pakistan's exports have declined from 13.5% of GDP in year 2000 to 8.24% of GDP in 2017.  At the same time, the country's import bill has increased from 14.69% in year 2000 to 17.55% of GDP in 2017.

Pakistan FDI. Source: The Global Economy

Foreign Direct Investment:

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan was a mere $2.82 billion (less than 1% of GDP) in 2017, down from a peak of $5.59 billion (4% of GDP) in 2007.  The lack of foreign investment has contributed to the country's dwindling reserves and balance of payments difficulties requiring it to seek yet another IMF bailout.

Pakistan's External Debt. Source: State Bank of Pakistan via Dr. Ishrat Husain

Pakistan's Debt:

Significant growth in remittances from Pakistani diaspora has clearly helped but the external accounts gap is too big for it. This has forced Pakistan to borrow heavily in recent years. It has raised debt service costs and put pressure on Pakistan's reserves.

Summary:

Remittances from Pakistani diaspora have jumped 21-fold from about $1 billion in year 2000 to $21 billion in 2018, according to the World Bank. In terms of GDP, these inflows have soared nearly 7X from about 1% in year 2000 to 6.9% of GDP in 2018.  Meanwhile, Pakistan's exports have declined from 13.5% of GDP in year 2000 to 8.24% of GDP in 2017.  Foreign investment in the country has declined from a peak of $5.59 billion (about 4% of GDP) in 2007 to a mere $2.82 billion (less than 1% of GDP) in 2017. At the same time, the country's import bill has increased from 14.69% in year 2000 to 17.55% of GDP in 2017. This growing trade imbalance has forced Pakistan to seek IMF bailouts four times since the year 2000.  It is further complicated by external debt service cost of over $6 billion (about 2% of GDP) in 2017. While the current account imbalance situation is bad, it would be far worse if Pakistani diaspora did not come to the rescue.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Can Pakistan Avoid Recurring Balance of Payment Crisis?

Pakistan Economy Hobbled By Underinvestment

Pakistan's IT Exports Surging

Can Indian Economy Survive Without Western Capital Inflows?

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Chinese Yuan to Replace US $ as Reserve Currency?

Remittances From Overseas Pakistanis

Can Imran Khan Lead Pakistan to the Next Level?

China to Expand Manufacturing in Special Economic Zones

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pakistan Media Industry Shakeout Underway

Pakistan's 88 billion rupee media industry is in the midst of a major shakeout after a long period of rapid double-digit growth since the turn of the century. Hundreds of journalists and other staff have lost their jobs. At least one TV channel, Waqt News, has closed while several others are downsizing. While such consolidation was long overdue after nearly two-decade long period of explosive growth, the PTI government's decision to reduce advertising budget, which constitutes nearly a quarter of all ad spending in the country, appears to be the main trigger. Those affected by consolidation are accusing the government of exercising press censorship by cutting its ad spending.

Pakistan Ad Spending. Source: Aurora/Dawn

Rapid Growth:

Rising buying power of rapidly expanding middle class in Pakistan drove the nation's media advertising revenue up 14% to a record Rs. 76.2 billion 2016 and another 12% to Rs. 88 billion in 2017, making the country's media market among the world's fastest growing media markets.

Global Advertising Growth 2016. Source: Magna

Industry Shakeout:

Massive commercial media growth in Pakistan has been most apparent in terms of private TV channels growing from just one in Year 2000 to over 100 today after President Musharraf's deregulation of electronic and other media.

Explosive growth with many new entrants is the fundamental business reason for the recent wave of consolidation and shakeout. Shakeout is a business term used to describe the consolidation of an industry or sector after it has experienced a period of rapid growth in demand followed by oversupply.

At least one TV channel, Waqt News owned by Nawai-Waqt Media Group, has closed while several others are downsizing.  “We are trying to compile exact figures of the affected media persons. So far, we can say that around 1,000-1,500 workers have lost their jobs or faced cuts in salaries in the past few weeks,” Muhammad Afzal Butt, president of one the main factions of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) told  The News Sunday (TNS) this week.

Government Spending:

About a quarter of Rs. 80 billion ad revenue comes from federal and provincial government ads in the media. Some of the TV channels receive as much as 50% of their revenue from the government.

"The government has cut its media spend by more than 70% and companies by almost 50%", according to a leading advertising agency owner who spoke to Dawn.

"The (federal) government used to spend some Rs. 10 billion on advertisements annually, which was increased up to Rs35 billion in the last years of the (Nawaz Sharif's PMLN) government," Fawad Chaudhry,  federal minister of information,  told The News Sunday (TNS).  This tax-payers’ money, says the minister, was used by the previous government to bribe the media for favorable coverage.

Digital Adverstising:

Growing slice of the media ad spend is being claimed by online advertising with accelerating broadband penetration in Pakistan. Most recent data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority shows that 62 million Pakistanis now subscribe to mobile broadband and this number is increasing by one to two million new subscribers each month.

Digital media spending rose 27% in 2015-16 over prior year, the fastest of all the media platforms. It was followed by 20% increase in radio, 13% in television, 12% in print and 6% in outdoor advertising, according to data published by Aurora media market research.

Summary:

Significant reduction in government spending on advertising has triggered a long-overdue shakeout after almost two decades of rapid media growth in Pakistan. About a quarter of Rs. 80 billion ad revenue comes from federal and provincial government ads in the media. Some of the TV channels receive as much as 50% of their revenue from the government.  Hundreds of journalists and other staff have lost their jobs. At least one TV channel, Waqt, has closed while several others are downsizing. Those affected by consolidation are accusing the government of exercising press censorship by cutting its ad spending.


Here's a video discussion on Pakistani media business with Misbah Azam, Sabahat Ashraf and Riaz Haq.


https://youtu.be/Nz1axuB5j-Q





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

FMCG Growth in Pakistan

Is Media Free?

Pakistan Retail Sales Growth

Advertising Revenue in Pakistan

Pakistan FMCG Market

The Other 99% of Pakistan Story

PSL Cricket League Revenue

E-Commerce in Pakistan

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

Mobile Broadband Speed in Pakistan

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Top Asia Investment Strategist Chris Wood Sees Strong Economy in Pakistan

Speaking at a recent Delhi investment conference, Managing Director and Chief Strategist Christopher Wood of CLSA (formerly known as Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia) surprised everyone, by saying that he loves the Pakistan stock market more than any other in Asia, according to Indian media reports. Wood, based in Hong Kong, has been named as the "best strategist" in Asia several times by magazines such as Asiamoney and Institutional Investor.

Christopher Wood of CLSA in New Delhi, India
Strong Recovery:

After recently visiting Pakistan for the first time,Wood wrote that Pakistan faces some short-term issues  but its "economy can recover quickly from its latest crisis once the current hole in the balance of payments is plugged, as is likely to be the case by a combination of China and IMF funding, combined with some extra support provided by Saudi Arabia".

Exports as Percentage of GDP. Source: CLSA
Wood explained that "minimal (private sector) debt points to a strong recovery". He said "it was interesting to learn of the resilience of the country’s private sector with debt concentrated very much at the government level". "Pakistan is well positioned to to benefit from the US-China trade war", he added. A similar conclusion has recently been reached by Tokyo-based Nomura Securities. Pakistan exports are currently just 8.2% of GDP, among the lowest in Asia.

Pakistan's Private Debt. Source: CLSA

Low Private Debt:

Wood wrote: "Consumer loans and SME loans accounted for only 12% of total bank loans (PKR498 billion and PKR422 billion respectively) at the end of 2Q18, while the loan-to-deposit ratio of the banking system is only 53%, down from 75% in 2008 (see following chart). Meanwhile, 69% of bank loans are to the corporate sector. But it is not leveraged, with corporate debt totaling only 16% of GDP."

Source: Grizzle.com

Stock Market Valuations:

Wood finds Pakistan stock market particularly attractive because of its significantly low valuation relative to its Asian peers. Wood wrote: "The attractive point is low valuations and high dividend yields. The market is on 6.9x forecast calendar 2019 earnings based on a universe of 47 stocks and a 2019 forecast dividend yield of 8.2%."

CLSA Recommended Weightings

Summary:


Top investment strategist Christopher Wood of CLSA sees strong recovery of Pakistan economy once the short-term balance of payments crisis is overcome.  Wood attributes it to "minimal (private sector) debt". He says "it was interesting to learn of the resilience of the country’s private sector with debt concentrated very much at the government level". "Pakistan is well positioned to benefit from the US-China trade war", he added. A similar conclusion has recently been reached by Tokyo-based Nomura Securities. Pakistan exports are currently just 8.2% of GDP, among the lowest in Asia.

Related Links:







Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pakistan Among Top 3 Likely Beneficiaries of US-China Trade War

Nomura Securities strategists believe Malaysia, Japan and Pakistan are expected to be the top 3 beneficiaries of import substitution triggered by US-China trade war escalation. Nomura's analysis is based on detailed study of 7,705 items which will be subject to tariffs and counter tariffs by US and China if the stand-off continues. Nomura developed two indices as part of its research on the subject: NISI (Nomura Import Substitution Index) and NPRI (Nomura Production Relocation Index).

Source: Nomura Securities

The two economic rivals have announced a series of tit-for-tat tariffs on imports in recent months with US set to increase tariffs to 25% on a range of Chinese products in January, unless the two sides reach a trade deal.

Nomura research shows the US list affects 3,477 products imported by US from China valued at $270 billion. Product categories affected are in electrical equipment, appliances and components (29%), machinery and mechanical appliances (22.7%) and furniture and related products (11.9%). China’s tariff list covers 4,228 US products with a combined value of $110 billion, and consists of food, beverage and tobacco, and vehicles.

Malaysia will benefit most, in particular from its exports of “electronic integrated circuits, liquefied natural gas and communication apparatus”. “Vehicles with only spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engines” will help Japan, according to the analysis, while Pakistan’s cotton yarn exports could rise.

If the trade war between the world's top two economies continues for years, there will also be production relocation of industrial units from China to other countries in the region. The biggest likely beneficiaries of it will be Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and India. Pakistan is least likely to benefit from it.

New opportunities are likely to open up for several Asian nations, including Pakistan, to increase industrial production and grow exports if the US-China trade war escalates.

Will the US-China trade conflict escalate? Is Pakistan capable of seizing the opportunity to expand its exports? Will Pakistan's recurring balance of payments crises end?  Will Pakistan manage to avoid repeated IMF bailouts? Only time will tell.

Related Links:







Monday, November 19, 2018

Pakistani Author-Journalist Raza Rumi in Silicon Valley

Pakistani author-journalist Raza Ahmad Rumi recently visited San Francisco Bay Area as part of his book tour to promote his latest book "Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and The Arts". Raza had three speaking engagements in the Bay Area: (1) At the World Affairs Council in San Francisco on Wednesday November 14, 2018, (2) Institute of South Asia Studies at University of California at Berkeley on Thursday November 15, 2018, and (3) Pakistani-American Community Center in Silicon Valley, CA on Friday November 16, 2018.



The Silicon Valley event with Raza Rumi was organized by Talk4Pak.com, a media platform to connect Pakistani-Americans with Pakistan, at the Pakistani-American Community Center (PACC) in Milpitas, CA.



Raza was introduced by Riaz Haq at the PACC. Raza is a alumnus of London School of Economics. He has passed Pakistan Civil Service exam and served in senior positions in Pakistan government. He has also worked as a consultant at the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). He is currently  the editor of Lahore-based Daily Times. He lives in Ithaca, New York and teaches at Cornell University. His books include Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller, The Fractious Path: Pakistan’s Democratic Transition and Identity and Faith and Conflict. His most recent collection of essays Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and The Arts was published in 2018 by Harper Collins.



In his presentation at the PACC, Raza Rumi challenged the prevailing one-dimensional narrative of Pakistan that wrongly focuses on extremism and terrorism. He acknowledged that Pakistan does have a serious problem of extremism and terrorism. But these problems also exist elsewhere, including in America where we have seen the rise of white supremacists' violence in recent years. He said part of his motivation in writing Being Pakistani is to highlight Pakistan's other dimensions including, for example, its ancient civilization that is thousands of years old as well its long Sufi traditions of tolerance and inclusiveness.

He mentioned the great ancient cities of Mehrgarh in Balochistan, Moenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa in Punjab. Raza emphasized in the areas that now make up Pakistan as a great center of learning with Taxila University, believed to be the world's first university, located close to the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad. He also mentioned Gandhara Civilization where Buddhism flourished in what is now Khyber PakhtunKhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan. Rumi sees Pakistanis as inheritors of these great civilizations.



Rumi talked of the poetry of Bulleh Shah and the work of miniaturist artist Shazia Sikander whose art is displayed at top museums across America and the wildly popular Coke Studio that offers a beautiful fusion of the traditional and the modern poetry and music. Raza said that it was "ironically" during General Musharraf's regime that the deregulation of media, telecom revolution and proliferation of news and entertainment channels allowed Pakistani arts and culture to flourish.

Rumi said that there are threats to mass media and free expression but there is also pushback by many who wish to preserve freedom. He said that Pakistan's progress is not linear but it is definitely making progress toward a democratic middle-class nation.  There is a growing middle class in Pakistan and the country recently saw peaceful elections and power transfer for the third time in the last decade. The process is far from perfect but the overall trends are positive.

Here's a video  recording of the event:

https://youtu.be/OJr2Jk6SNsg



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Other Story

Pakistan Elections 2018

Pakistan Middle Class Growth

Coke Studio: Music Drives Coke Sales in Pakistan

Malaysia's Ex-PM Mahathir Stirs up Hadith Controversy

Riaz Haq's Sermon on Interfaith Relations

Misaq e Madina Inspired Quaid e Azam's Vision of Pluralist Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Ramadan Sermon

Alam vs Hoodbhoy: Clash of Ideas in Islam

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pakistan's Insatiable Appetite For Energy

Pakistan's consumption of oil and gas has rapidly grown over the last 5 years, an indication of the nation's accelerating economic growth. Pakistan is among the fastest growing LNG markets, according to Shell 2017 LNG report.

Pakistan Oil Consumption in Barrels Per Day. Source: CEIC.com

Oil consumption in Pakistan has shot up about 50% from 400,000 barrels per day in 2012 to nearly 600,000 barrels per day in 2017. During the same period, Pakistan's gas consumption has risen from 3.5 billion cubic feet per day to nearly 4 billion cubic feet per day, according to British Petroleum data.

Pakistan is among the fastest growing LNG markets, according to Shell 2017 LNG report.  The country has suffered a crippling energy shortage in recent years as demand has risen sharply to over 6 billion cubic feet per day,  far outstripping the domestic production of about 4 billion cubic feet per day. Recent LNG imports are beginning to make a dent in Pakistan's ongoing energy crisis and helping to boost economic growth. Current global oversupply and low LNG prices are helping customers get better terms on contracts.

Pakistan Gas Consumption in Billions of Cubic Feet Per Day. Source: CEIC.com

Since the middle of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution has transformed the world. Energy has become the life-blood of modern economies. Energy-hungry machines are now doing more and more of the work at much higher levels of productivity than humans and animals who did it in pre-industrial era.

Every modern, industrial society in history has gone through a 20-year period where there were extremely large investments in the energy sector, and availability of ample electricity made the transition from a privilege of an urban elite to something every family would have. It seems that Pakistan is beginning to recognize it. If Pakistan wishes to join the industrialized world, it will have to continue to do this by having a comprehensive energy policy and making large investments in the power sector. Failure to do so would condemn Pakistanis to a life of poverty and backwardness.

Pakistan is heavily dependent on energy imports to drive its economy. These energy imports put severe strain on the country's balance of payments and forces it to repeatedly seek IMF bailouts.

Pakistan needs to develop export orientation for its economy and invest more in its export-oriented industries to earn the hard currencies it needs for essential imports including oil and gas. At the same time, Pakistan is stepping up its domestic oil and gas exploration efforts.  American energy giant Exxon-Mobil has joined the offshore oil and gas exploration efforts started by Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Italian energy giant ENI.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Oil and Gas Exploration

US EIA Estimates of Oil and Gas in Pakistan

Pakistan Among Fastest Growing LNG Markets

Methane Hydrate Release After Balochistan Quake

Thar Coal Development

Why Blackouts and Bailouts in Energy-Rich Pakistan?

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Monday, November 12, 2018

Pakistan's Scientific Output Doubles in 5 Years

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (Weighted Functional Count) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. In the same period, India's WFC has increased from 850.97 in 2013 to 935.44 in 2017. India's global ranking has improved from 13 in 2013 to 11 in 2017.

Top 10 Pakistan Institutions in Scientific Output. Source: Nature Index
Pakistan's Global Ranking:

Pakistan ranks 40 among 161 countries for quality adjusted scientific output for year 2017 as reported by Nature Index 2018.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36. US leads with almost 15,800, followed by China's 7,500, Germany 3,800, UK 3,100 and Japan 2,700.

Nature Index:

The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals. The database is compiled by Nature Research. The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

The Nature Index includes primary research articles published in a group of high-quality science journals. The journals included in the Nature Index are selected by a panel of active scientists, independently of Nature Research. The selection process reflects researchers’ perceptions of journal quality, rather than using quantitative measures such as Impact Factor. It is intended that the list of journals amounts to a reasonably consensual upper echelon of journals in the natural sciences and includes both multidisciplinary journals and some of the most highly selective journals within the main disciplines of the natural sciences. The journals included in the Nature Index represent less than 1% of the journals covering natural sciences in the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics) but account for close to 30% of total citations to natural science journals.

Pakistan vs BRICS:

In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Top Asian Universities:

British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.  Other South Asian universities figuring in the QS top universities report are 75 from India, 6 from Bangladesh and 4 from Sri Lanka.

In terms of the number of universities ranking in Asia's top 500, Pakistan with its 23 universities ranks second in South Asia and 7th among 17 Asian nations topped by China with 112, Japan 89, India 75, South Korea 57, Taiwan 36, Malaysia 26, Pakistan 23, Indonesia 22, Thailand 19, Philippines 8, Hong Kong 7, Vietnam 7, Bangladesh 6, Sri Lanka 4, Singapore 3, Macao 2 and Brunei 2.

Summary:

Pakistan's quality-adjusted scientific output (WFC) as reported in Nature Index has doubled from 18.03 in 2013 to 37.28 in 2017. Pakistan's global ranking has improved from 53 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  Pakistan ranks 40 with quality-adjusted scientific output of 37.28. India ranks 11 with 935. Malaysia ranks 61 with 6.73 and Indonesia ranks 63 with 6.41. Bangladesh ranks 100 with 0.81. Sri Lanka ranks 84 with 1.36.  In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.   British ranking agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has recently ranked 23 Pakistani universities among the top 500 Asian universities for 2019, up from 16 in 2018.

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