Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Credit Suisse Bullish on Pakistan Cement Sector

Renewed construction boom in Pakistan has helped the nation's cement producers significantly increase their sales and profits. Year-over-year, income at Lucky Cement, Pakistan's largest producer of building materials,  is up 33% while DG Khan Cement, second largest cement company, has quadrupled its profits.

Source: Credit Suisse Report on Pakistan Cement Sector
Cement production, an important barometer of national economic activity, was up 8% in 2011-12, according to a research report compiled by a Credit Suisse analyst.

CS analyst Farhan Rizvi says in his report that "higher PSDP (Public Sector Development Program) spending has led to a resurgence in domestic cement demand in FY12 (+8%) and with increased PSDP allocation for FY13 (+19%) and General Elections due in Feb-Mar 2013, domestic demand is likely to remain robust over the next six-nine months".

Nagan Chowrangi Interchange in Karachi
 Ongoing public sector projects include new large and small dams, irrigation canals, power plants, highways, flyovers, airports, seaports, etc. Most of these were already in the pipeline when the PPP government assumed control in 2008. Recent pre-election increases in PSDP funding allowed work to resume on these projects in 2011-12.

In addition to public sector infrastructure projects, there is a lot of privately funded real estate development activity visible in all major cities of the country. Big real estate developers like Bahria Town and Habib Construction are developing both commercial and housing projects in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Other cities like Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Larkana, Multan, Mirpur, Peshawar and Quetta are also seeing new housing communities, golf courses, hotels, office complexes, restaurants, shopping malls, etc.

Artist's Rendering of Sheraton Islamabad Golf City Resort 
 Credit Suisse is bullish on Pakistan's cement sector in particular and Pakistani shares in general.

CS analyst Farhan Rizvi has initiated coverage with "an OVERWEIGHT stance, as we believe compelling valuations, improving domestic demand outlook, better pricing power and easing cost pressures make the sector an attractive investment proposition. Despite better growth prospects (3-year CAGR of 17% over FY12-15E) and improving margins, the sector trades at an attractive FY13E EV/EBITDA of 3.8x, 49% discount to the historical average multiple of 7.4x. Moreover, FY13E EV/tonne of US$74 is approximately 29% discount to historical average EV/tonne of US$104 and 50% discount to the region".

Another CS analyst Farrukh Khan, based in Credit Suisse’ Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore,says in his research report that “liquidity in 2012 has been concentrated in stocks offering positive earnings surprises (e.g., United Bank, Lucky Cement, DG Khan Cement and Bank Alfalah), enabling them to be strong outperformers. With further improvements in liquidity, we expect a broad-based price discovery to take hold in attractively valued oil and fertilizer stocks as well.”

 A string of strong earnings announcements by Karachi Stock Exchange listed companies and the Central Bank's 1.5% rate cut have already helped the KSE-100 index gain 32% in US dollar terms year to date.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Strong Earnings Propel KSE-100 to 4 Year High 

Development in

Credit Suisse on Pakistan Cement Sector

Credit Suisse Research Report on Pakistan Equities

Tax Evasion Fosters Aid Dependence

Poll Finds Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Pakistan's Rural Economy Booming

Pakistan Car Sales Up 61%

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Land For Landless Women in Pakistan

Monday, October 29, 2012

Imran Khan Draws 500 Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

"We will rid the country of corruption within the first 90 days in office...I condemned the attack on Malala within 48 hours and was the first to visit her in the hospital...Taliban have killed hundreds of ANP workers...If I condemn the Taliban, they'll kill my workers too." PTI Chief Imran Khan in San Jose, CA. Oct 28, 2012

 There were many contradictions in PTI chief Imran Khan's San Jose speech that attracted about 500 Pakistani-Americans. The attendees were quite enthusiastic in their welcome of the national cricket hero who has turned to politics with a strong anti-corruption platform. Imran was accompanied by PTI leader Fauzia Kasuri and sufi rock singer- songwriter Salman Ahmad of Junoon fame.

When Imran Khan arrived, the fundraiser-dinner quickly turned into an urban middle class rally reminiscent of the PTI events in major Pakistani cities like Lahore and Karachi. The banquet hall at Dolce Hayes Mansion came alive with slogans of "Pakistan Zindanad" and "Imran Khan Zindabad" following Pakistan's national anthem  played by Salman Ahmad.

The well-attended Silicon Valley event was a confirmation of the fact that PTI is essentially an urban middle class phenomenon drawing support from people who are looking for new leadership to rid the country of corruption and misrule by Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the two major political parties which have dominated Pakistani politics since 1980s.

Anti-Corruption, being the key theme of Imran's speeches, elicited a number of questions from the audience. One questioner suggested that "99% of the people are involved in some form of corruption" and asked how would Imran Khan end it? Imran responded by citing low government salaries as the main cause. He said bureaucrats like his father were not corrupt because their monthly salary was large enough to buy a car back in 1950s.  He did not elaborate as to how he would raise government employee salaries to such lofty levels in Pakistan as part of his plan to end corruption in 90 days, nor did he elaborate on the role of the elite colonial-era civil service to control the population rather than serve the people.

Continuing on the theme of low salaries,  Imran Khan mentioned that one of his brilliant classmates at Aitcheson College became a top scientist but had such "low income that he could not afford to send his children to Aitcheson College".  After hearing this answer, the first thought that ran through my mind was to compare Imran Khan with the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney who is being portrayed as "out of touch" and "disconnected" from the ordinary folks.

A woman questioner asked him how he would "end corruption in 90 days when it takes 9 months to make a baby?" In response, Imran said "I am not talking about making babies". Then he proceeded to cite an example of an "honest police superintendent" in some small town near Dera Ismail Khan who ended all crime within 90 days.  He also saw the chief minister of the Indian state of Bihar as an inspiration for ending corruption and achieving double-digit economic growth.

Addressing a question about how he intends to deal with the Taliban, Imran blamed it on the US presence in the region and the use of drones. He said dialog is the way to end it. He also said that the number of  "irreconcilable" Taliban militants was very small and could be defeated by a "small military military operation" by Pakistan Army after the US exit from the region.

Responding to a question about PTI's election strategy, Imran Khan said he did not believe in "constituency politics" and would not give his party tickets based on the notions of electability. Instead, he is counting on a PTI landslide victory similar to the 1970 elections in which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's PPP won big in West Pakistan.

After Imran's speech, I was asked by some PTI-USA officers about what I thought of it. I told them that I felt Imran was confused when he said he condemned the Taliban after the Malala shooting but then proceeded  to ask "who will protect my workers if I condemn the Taliban".  Three of the PTI officers, including Dr. Nasrullah Khan, rose to defend their leader's remarks on the Taliban by asking me "who do you think attacked Malala?" When I said the TTP has claimed responsibility for it, they claimed it was "someone other than the Taliban". As the discussion continued, Dr. Nasrullah Khan pulled up a picture of injured Malala on his iPhone and said "I am a cardiologist and I have seen gun-shot victims" and the nature of Malala's head injury shows the "attack was staged".

It seems that Dr. Nasrullah Khan and his fellow PTI members I met are discounting the fact that the Taliban have a long track record  in both Afghanistan and Pakistan of attacking anyone, regardless of age and gender, who disagrees with their goals or tactics. They have a record of using extreme violence to silence those who dare to criticize them.

My assessment of Imran Khan after yesterday's event is that he has very enthusiastic support among young urban middle class Pakistanis who are probably participating in the political process for the first time in Pakistan's history. This augurs well for the country in the long run. However, PTI's chances of emerging with a majority of seats in Pakistani parliament in 2013 elections appear remote.

I also believe that Imran Khan is well-meaning but he appears to be naive, even disconnected from the reality, when it comes to Pakistan's current electoral politics which is based on a system of patronage.  He is also significantly underestimating the serious national threat posed by the Taliban and other militant groups and the widespread culture of corruption in the country.

Here's a brief video clip of the event:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Malala Moment: Pakistan's Cowardly Politicians
Pakistan 2013 Election Predictions

Pakistan's Culture of Corruption

Imran Khan's Lahore Rally

Pakistan's Politics of Patronage

Pakistani Judges' Jihad Against Corruption

Incompetence and Corruption in Pakistan

 Culture of Corruption at Imran's Kasur Rally

 Imran Tells Obama: Leave Afghanistan

Pak Taliban Killing Spree Continues  

Appeasement in Swat

Pakistan's Growing Insurgency

Rising Intolerance in Pakistan
Fighting Agents of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslim Scholars Must Fight Hate in Pakistan

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Pakistan Must Defeat Agents of Intolerance 

Celebrating Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Birthday

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pakistan Among Top Meat Consuming Nations

Media coverage of Pakistan's brisk Eid-ul-Azha livestock sales are a reminder that the nation is among the world's top ten consumers of goat meat and beef based on USDA data.

Pakistan's goat meat consumption of 779,000 tons in 2011-12 ranks it among the top 3 in the world. 1.7 million tons of beef consumption in Pakistan is ranked  9th among beef consuming nations. In addition, 834,000 tons of poultry meat consumption puts it among world's top 20.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011-12
Along with rising meat consumption, there has also been a big surge in milk consumption with the ongoing livestock revolution in Pakistan. Pakistanis consumed nearly 39 million tons of milk in 2011-12, according to Economic Survey of Pakistan. This translates into 223 Kg of milk consumption per person which is about the same as the developed world's per capita milk consumption and more than twice that of neighboring India's 96 kg per capita.

Although meat consumption in Pakistan is rising, it still remains very low by world standards. At just 18 Kg per person, it's less than half of the world average of 42 Kg per capita meat consumption reported by the FAO.

Being mostly vegetarian, neighboring Indians consume only 3.2 Kg of meat per capita, less than one-fifth of Pakistan's 18 Kg. Daal (legumes or pulses) are popular in South Asia as a protein source.  Indians consume 11.68 Kg of daal per capita, about twice as much as Pakistan's 6.57 Kg.

Another ingredient popular in South Asian cuisine is vegetable oil.  It's an important source of fat and protein for a nutritious and tasty diet. Edible oil consumption soars during the holidays as hundreds of millions of people eat sweets and fried foods during the September-December festive season.   Pakistanis use about 20 Kg of oil, the per capita amount recommended by the World Health Organization, while Indians consume about 13 Kg per capita.

Source: USDA Report 2013

Celebratory occasions like Eid or Diwali push sugar consumption in South Asia. Pakistan's per capita sugar consumption is about 23 Kg while India's is about 20 Kg per person per year.

Fish Farming Growth in Pakistan. Source: FAO

Although still below average relative to the world, per capita consumption of meat, milk and edible oil is rising with rising incomes and standards of living in both India and Pakistan. As the dietary habits change, it'll be important for policy makers and health and fitness professionals to watch the changes and help educate the people about healthy eating.

Here's a video of MeatOne, a meat packer in Karachi:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Livestock and Agribusiness Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistan's Rural Economy Showing Strength

Solving Pakistan's Sugar Crisis

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan 

Is India a Nutritional Weakling?

India Tops World Hunger Charts

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Malala Moment: Profiles in Courage...Not!

Ordinary Pakistanis have responded to the barbaric attack on  courageous 14-year-old Swat schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai and her classmates by expressing outrage and demanding action against the perpetrators. They have poured out into the streets for prayers for Malala's speedy recovery.

 The cowardly attack on a teenage schoolgirl is shocking. But it should not be surprising. The Taliban have a long track record  in both Afghanistan and Pakistan of attacking anyone, regardless of age and gender, who disagrees with their goals or tactics. They have a record of using extreme violence to silence those who dare to criticize them. The Taliban have repeatedly said that do not believe in constitutional democracy, political processes and elections.

With the exception of some ANP,  MQM and PPP leaders, the rest of the political leadership in Pakistan has failed to rise to the occasion. Here are some recent cowardly statements on the subject of Taliban militancy by PTI and PML(N) leaders:

“Who will save my party workers if I sit here and give big statements against the Taliban.”  PTI Chief Imran Khan

"I will support military operation (against the Taliban) if you can guarantee peace after it."  PTI Chief Imran Khan

“Gen. Musharraf planned a bloodbath of innocent Muslims at the behest of others only to prolong his rule, but we in the PML-N opposed his policies and rejected dictation from abroad. If the Taliban are also fighting for the same cause then they should not carry out acts of terror in Punjab.”  PML (N) Leader Shahbaz Sharif

 Pakistan's coward politicians need to draw some inspiration from brave little Malala Yousufzai. The nation desperately needs courageous leaders at this moment in history. Pakistan's leaders, particularly those in the Opposition, are failing the basic test of leadership. They are paralyzed by the fear of the militants. They are begging the Taliban to spare them. They are unwilling to take any risks and demanding impossible guarantees of peace that no one can provide. This is a recipe for inaction in the face of the Taliban onslaught on innocent civilians.

Some, especially those in the politico-religious leadership, are promoting confusion to distract the people from the real threat Pakistan faces today. Samia Qazi, the daughter of Jamate-Islami leader Qazi Husain Ahmed, is orchestrating a social media and email campaign against 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai to tarnish her image by attacking the victim to deflect attention from the TTP's crimes. Qazi and her supporters are being deliberately disingenuous by claiming sympathy for Malala while at the same time they engage in a smear campaign against her to paint her as an American agent.

In a picture first tweeted by Samia Qazi and posted on social media sites, she claims that Malala is meeting American generals. In fact, there is no American general in it. It is actually a still frame from a documentary made by the New York Times, which specifies the footage is from a simple meeting with late Richard Holbrook, US diplomatic representative to the region in 2009, during which Malala asked the US for help in girls’ education in Pakistan. Samia Qazi should remember that, by her logic,  her brother, Asif Luqman Qazi, can also be found guilty by association because he must have met many Americans while attending Boston University in the United States.

Those who refuse to speak out against the Taliban out of fear or sympathy must remember this: If the Taliban succeed in acquiring power in Pakistan, they will not spare them because none of them will measure up to Taliban's expectations of a "good" Muslim.

Samia Qazi will be targeted by the Taliban because they will find her too well-educated and too outspoken for a woman. Asif Qazi will be considered by them as guilty of associating with Americans while in Boston. Imran Khan will face the Taliban's wrath for his past transgressions of engaging in alleged pre-marital sex and for marrying a Jewish woman.  The Sharif brothers will be unacceptable to them because they have no beards. Those in the media will be targeted for exercising their right to criticize them.

The Taliban will implement draconian laws in the guise of their extreme version of Sharia and enforce such laws with brutal religious police.  They will force all men to grow long beards and force burqa on all women. They will ban women's education and shut girls' schools. They will ban television as they did in Afghanistan when they ruled it. In short, the Taliban will find reasons to persecute all non-Taliban just as they did in Afghanistan in 1990s before the post-911 US invasion of Afghanistan.

Let there be no mistake: The phenomenon of Taliban is a Fitna not unlike the 11th century Isma'ili shia Hashasheen (Assassins) whom Marco Polo depicted as trained killers responsible for the systematic elimination of fellow Muslims, mostly Sunnis, who disagreed with them.

Na haq kai liye uththe to shamshir bhi fitna hai
Shamsheer hi kiya nara-e-takbeer bhi fitna hai

To prevent the Taliban from achieving their goals of dominance in Pakistan, the country needs a comprehensive strategy with both political and military components. Such a strategy must be regional to deal with the possibility of the Taliban crossing the Durand line for safe havens as part of their defense. It must begin with building broad popular support, if not consensus, to defeat the Taliban. It must include an effective education campaign led by the politicians and civil society as well as the mass media to end all confusion about the serious threat posed in Pakistan by all factions of  the Taliban who all share similar goals of taking control of the country to impose their dark vision in the name of Islam.  It must also include a decisive force component to militarily defeat the hard core leadership of the Taliban.

Here's a recent video discussion on the subject:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pak Taliban Killing Spree Continues  

Appeasement in Swat

Pakistan's Growing Insurgency

Rising Intolerance in Pakistan
Fighting Agents of Intolerance in Pakistan

Muslim Scholars Must Fight Hate in Pakistan

South Asian Christians Celebrate Christmas in Fear

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's Vision

Pakistan Must Defeat Agents of Intolerance 

Celebrating Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah's Birthday

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pakistan's Top Fashion Models

Mass media revolution and rising consumption in Pakistan have spawned an impressive fashion scene in the last decade. It has given birth to a young and thriving fashion industry and created unprecedented opportunities for beautiful young professional models who show off a range of fashion apparel, cosmetics, jewelry and accessories as well as other consumer products and services to a rapidly growing brand-conscious middle class.It has also opened up export opportunities for brand-name textile and leather products and cosmetics and jewelry from Pakistan.

Here are some of the popular models often seen on TV and in print ads and on runways at frequent fashion shows in Pakistan and overseas:

1. Tehmeena Afzal:

2. Iman Ali:

Iman Ali

3. Amina Haq:

Amna Haq
4. Vaneeza Ahmed:

Vaneeza Ahmad

5. Nadia Husain:

Nadia Husain

6. Cybil Chaudhry:

Cybil Chaudhry

7.  Iraj Manzoor:

Iraj Mansoor

 8. Sunita Marshall:

Sunita Marshall

9. Mathira Khan:

Mathira Khan
10. Shanna Bukhari:

11. Veena Malik:

12. Meesha Shafi:

13. Mehreen Syed:

14. Amna Ilyas:

15. Ayyan Ali with other models:

Here's a video clip of Karachi Fashion Week 2011:

Here's a video shoot of Tehmeena Afzal:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Cover Girls

Veena Malik Challenges Pakistan's Orthodoxy 

PakAlumni-Pakistani Social Network 

Huma Abedin Weinergate

Pakistan Media Revolution

Protest Music in Pakistan

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Life Goes On in Pakistan

Pakistani Entrepreneurs Survive Economic Downturn

Silent Social Revolution in Pakistan

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pakistanis Rank High on Happy Planet Index

Pakistan ranks 16th among 151 countries of the world on the Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2012, slightly behind Bangladesh in 11th place but well ahead of India in 32nd spot.

 Earlier, Gallup 2012 Wellbeing survey reported that 20% of Pakistanis say they are "thriving", down from 32% last year. However, the report also  showed that more of them are still better off than their neighbors in Bangladesh (16% thriving) and India (11% thriving). The number of those "thriving" increased in Bangladesh by 3% and declined in India by 6%.
Here are some of the possible reasons:

1. Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future.

 2. Rising consumption of durables (cars, motorcycles, tractors, Appliances) and non-durables (FMCGs or fast-moving consumer goods) as well as increasing cement sales are indicative of the underlying strength of the economy.

3. Pakistan's undocumented economy is continuing to thrive as seen in packed shopping malls and restaurants.

4. There are double digit increases in cash remittances flowing in to Pakistan from the world's seventh largest diaspora, rising 21.45 percent to $9.73 billion in the first nine months of the 2011/12 fiscal year.

5. Karachi stock index is booming, hitting new 4-year highs. Share prices are driven by healthy profits and foreign buying, making KSE-100 the third fastest growing index in the world.  

6. Even the preliminary official estimates are indicating that Pakistan's nominal per capita income has increased by 9% to $1,372 in 2011-12 from $1,258 in 2010-11.

7. Preliminary estimates are showing that poverty rate in Pakistan has declined from 17.2 per cent in 2008 to slightly over 12 per cent in 2011.

The Gallup survey confirms that only 28% of Pakistanis have confidence in their national government. In my view, it stems from the obvious failure of the state in delivering basic services such as rule-of-law, security and electricity to the people .  The best way to improve the wellbeing of the people is to improve governance, reduce corruption and persuade people to pay taxes to give the state more resources.

Coming back to HPI 2012, the Happy Planet Index website says that "the new HPI results show the extent to which 151 countries across the globe produce long, happy and sustainable lives for the people that live in them." "The overall index scores rank countries based on their efficiency, how many long and happy lives each produces per unit of environmental output", it adds.

 There are three components of HPI – life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint - that each country is measured on. The scores for each component are color-coded green (good), yellow (middling) and red (poor). An additional color-code deep red is used for countries with poor score in one of the three components of overall HPI score.

Among South Asian nations, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are rated as "middling", while Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myamar are rated poor.

The top-ranked countries are mainly from Latin America with Costa Rica occupying the top spot. The bottom of the list includes sub-Sharan African nations with Botswana at the bottom.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Pakistanis Rank Above Neighbors on Gallup Well-being Index 2012

Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011-12

US Technical Analyst Bullish on Pakistan

Pakistan on Goldman Sachs' Growth Map

Pakistan's 64 Years of Independence

Goldman Sachs & Franklin-Templeton Bullish on Pakistan

Emerging Market Expert Investing in Pakistan

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Genomics & Biotech Advances in Pakistan

The Growth Map by Jim O'Neill

Pakistan Rolls Out 50Mbps Broadband Service

More Pakistan Students Studying Abroad

Inquiry Based Learning in Pakistan

Mobile Internet in South Asia

Online Courses at Top International Universities

Monday, October 1, 2012

US Seeding Venture Capital and Private Equity in Pakistan

US is providing $80 million to create multiple VC and PE funds in Pakistan. These funds will be run by professional fund managers who will be required to manage and raise additional money from other sources to start multiple funds. US Embassy in Islamabad told Express Tribune that they expect that "there will be substantial interest from local, regional and international investors”.

Polish Model:

The initiative is based on the Polish American Enterprise Fund model which was started with $140 million from US government and has now grown to several billion dollars of investable funds, according to Express Tribune.

US AID's Theodore Heisler said that co-investment was essential in bringing the size of each fund to a level where it can cover operating expenses. The funds will focus on investing in small and medium entrepreneurial companies which, the US Silicon Valley experience has demonstrated, are major drivers of innovation, economic growth and job creation. 

History of VC and PE Funds:

 In 2010, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provided JSPE Private Equity Fund II $50 million with a target capitalization of $150 million.

Venture capital investing is not entirely new in Pakistan, according to Venture Beat. Silicon Valley insiders like Reid Hoffman, Mark Pincus and Joe Kraus, along with Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and EPlanet Ventures have already started. In 2003, Hoffman, Pincus and Kraus invested in Monis Rahman, a Pakistani-American who left Intel for entrepreneurship. Rahman had successfully launched and sold a start-up in the Bay Area,

There are several investment firms in Pakistan, such as BMA Capital, Indus Basin Holdings and JS Private Equity, that offer examples of professionally managed funds. In addition, there are Social Entrepreneurial Funds like Acumen Fund, Dawood Foundation and Kashf Foundation which are very active in the SME sector in Pakistan.

Opportunity in Pakistan: 

Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

 With half the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan is well-positioned to reap what is often described as "demographic dividend", with its workforce growing at a faster rate than total population. This trend is estimated to accelerate over several decades. Contrary to the oft-repeated talk of doom and gloom, average Pakistanis are now taking education more seriously than ever. Youth literacy is about 70% and growing, and young people are spending more time in schools and colleges to graduate at higher rates than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee. Vocational training is also getting increased focus since 2006 under National Vocational Training Commission (NAVTEC) with help from Germany, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.

A 2012 World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia" shows that 63% of Pakistan's workforce is self-employed, including 13% high-end self-employed. Salaried and daily wage earners make up only 37% of the workforce. Even if one chooses to consider just the 13% who are high-end self-employed as entrepreneurs, it's still a significant population willing to take risks who can do better with greater availability of venture and private equity money.
A recent Pew Survey of 21 countries reported that 81% of Pakistanis believe in hard work to achieve material success. Americans are the second most optimistic with 77% sharing this belief followed by Tunisians (73%), Brazilians (69%), Indians (67%) and Mexicans (65%).


Promoting venture capital and private equity investments in Pakistan is a welcome initiative. It has the potential to unleash funding of new profitable ideas in small and medium size entrepreneurial businesses for significant returns to investors while also helping Pakistan achieve much needed economic stimulus with new jobs to lift more people out of poverty.  

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistanis Lead the World in Faith in Hard Work

Entrepreneurial Pakistanis

Financial Services Sector in Pakistan

Venture Capital Investing in Pakistan

Minorities are Majority in Silicon Valley

String Food and Beverage Demand Draws Investments to Pak Agribusiness

Strong Earnings Propel Pak Shares to New Highs

Pakistan's Underground Economy

Tax Evasion Fosters Aid Dependence

Poll Finds Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Pakistan's Rural Economy Booming

Pakistan Car Sales Up 61%

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers