Thursday, June 27, 2019

More Pakistanis Migrating to Non-English Speaking Rich Industrialized Nations

Migration data for 2016 released by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of rich industrialized nations of Europe, North America and East Asia, shows that a growing number of Pakistanis are migrating to its non-English Speaking member countries. Traditionally, most Pakistanis migrating to rich industrialized nations have preferred to go to English-Speaking nations. The biggest factor driving such migrations appears to be the growing labor shortages caused by aging populations and declining birth rates in OECD member nations.

Migration to Non-English Speaking OECD Nations:

Among the biggest non-English Speaking OECD destinations in 2016 for Pakistani migrants are Italy (14,735)  , Germany (12,215), Spain (6,461), South Korea (2,724), Japan (1,486), France (1,350) and Sweden (1.211). 

Pakistani Migration to Non-English Speaking OECD Nations in 2016. Source: OECD


Among English Speaking OECD nations, the top destination for Pakistani migrants continues to be the United States (19,313) followed by Canada (11,335), United Kingdom (11,000) and Australia (6,958). 

OECD Migration Report 2018: 

Over 95,000 Pakistanis migrated to and another 50,000 acquired citizenship of the rich industrialized nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2016, according to International Migration Outlook 2018 released by the Organization.

Nearly 50,000 Pakistani immigrants became citizens of the rich industrialized countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2016, according to International Migration Outlook 2018 recently published by the Organization.


Source: International Migration Outlook 2018


India topped the list with 130,000 Indians acquiring citizenship of OECD nations in 2016, followed by Mexico (112,000) ranked 2nd, the Philippines (94,000) ranked 3rd, Morocco (94,000) ranked 4th, China (78,000) ranked 5th, Albania (52,000) ranked 6th and Pakistan (50,000) ranked 7th.

In addition, Pakistan was the 18th largest source of immigrants with 95,000 Pakistanis migrating to OECD nations in 2016. India is 4th on this list with 271,000 Indians migrating to OECD countries.

Source: International Migration Outlook 2018


Humanitarian migration of refugees, rather than migration for better economic prospects, dominated OECD inflows during 2015. War-torn Syria was the second largest source with 430,000 migrants in 2015, the report said.

Online Labor Market:

The Internet has enabled online labor markets where freelancers sell their services globally. Pakistan (8.5%) ranks 4th in the world for online labor after India (24%), Bangladesh (16%) and the United States (12%), according to Online Labor Index. This Index is based on data collected from four of the largest online labour platforms, also known as online freelancing or online outsourcing platforms: Fiverr, Freelancer, Guru, and PeoplePerHour. Most of the customer base for online platforms is located in OECD nations.

Online Labor. Source: International Labor Organization

Pew Research Data: 

India is the world's largest exporter of labor with 15.8 million Indians working in other countries. Bangladesh ranks 5th with 7.2 million Bangladeshis working overseas while Pakistan ranks 6th with 5.9 million Pakistanis working overseas, according to Pew Research report released ahead of International Migrants Day observance on Sunday, December 18, 2016.

International Migration: 

Countries of Origin of Migrants to the United States Source: Pew Research




Pew Research reports that nearly 3.5 million Indians lived in the UAE, the world’s second-largest migration corridor in 2015. While most of the migration is from low and middle income countries to high-income countries, the top 20 list of migrants' origins also includes rich countries like the United States (ranked 20), United Kingdom (11), Germany (14), Italy (21) and South Korea (25).

Top 25 Sources of Migrants:

Here is the list of top 20 countries of origin for international migrants:


1. India 15.9 million

2. Mexico 12.3 million

3. Russia 10.6 million

4. China 9.5 million

5. Bangladesh 7.2 million

6. Pakistan 5.9 million

7. Ukraine 5.83 million

8.  Philippines 5.32 million

9.  Syria 5.01 million

10. Afghanistan 4.84 million

11. United Kingdom 4.92 million

12. Poland 4.45 million

13. Kazakstan 4.08 million

14. Germany 4.0 million

15. Indonesia 3.88 million

16. Palestine 3.55 million

17. Romania 3.41 million

18. Egypt 3.27 million

19. Turkey 3.11 million

20. United States 3.02 million

21. Italy 2.9 million

22. Burma (Myanmar) 2.88 million

23. Colombia 2.64 million

24. Vietnam 2.56 million

25. South Korea 2.35 million

Declining Labor Pool in Developed Economies: 

The world population is aging with slowing labor force growth. It is particularly true of the more developed nations with aging populations and declining birth rates.  In an recent report titled "Asian Economic Integration Report", the Asian Development argued that migration within Asia can help deal with regional labor imbalances. It said as follows:

"In Asia and the Pacific, many economies could expand their role as the source or host economy for migrant workers.

Labor supply is still growing in developing economies—such as Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines—and they could export labor across the region. In contrast, developed but aging economies such as Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Japan; and Singapore are unable to meet labor demand with their dwindling workforce.

Hence, these economies would benefit from immigrant labor. Kang and Magoncia (2016) further discuss the potential for migration to reallocate labor from surplus to deficit economies and offer a glimpse of how the demographic shift will frame Asia’s future population structure, particularly the future working age population. Among the issues explored is the magnitude of labor force surpluses and deficits within different economies in Asia."

Pakistan's Growing Labor Force:

Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population, sixth largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force with growing human capital. 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.



Pakistan's work force is over 60 million strong, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics. With increasing female participation, the country's labor pool is rising at a rate of 3.5% a year, according to International Labor Organization.

With rising urban middle class, there is substantial and growing demand in Pakistan from students, parents and employers for private quality higher education along with a willingness and capacity to pay relatively high tuition and fees, according to the findings of Austrade, an Australian government agency promoting trade. Private institutions are seeking affiliations with universities abroad to ensure they offer information and training that is of international standards.


Trans-national education (TNE) is a growing market in Pakistan and recent data shows evidence of over 40 such programs running successfully in affiliation with British universities at undergraduate and graduate level, according to The British Council. Overall, the UK takes about 65 per cent of the TNE market in Pakistan.

It is extremely important for Pakistan's public policy makers and the nation's private sector to fully appreciate the expected demographic dividend as a great opportunity. The best way for them to demonstrate it is to push a pro-youth agenda of education, skills developmenthealth and fitness to take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Failure to do so would be a missed opportunity that could be extremely costly for Pakistan and the rest of the world.

Growth Forecast 2014-2050. Source: EIU


In the high fertility countries of Africa and Asia family sizes are continuing to decline. And in low fertility countries family sizes will continue to remain below replacement levels. Why? Because the same juggernaut forces are operating: increasing urbanization, smaller and costly housing, expanding higher education and career opportunities for women, high financial costs and time pressures for childrearing and changing attitudes and life styles.

Source: BBC



Countries With Declining Populations:

115 countries, including China (1.55), Hong Kong (1.17),  Taiwan (1.11) and Singapore (0.8) are well below the replacement level of 2.1 TFR.  Their populations will sharply decline in later part of the 21st century.

 United States is currently at 2.01 TFR, slightly below the replacement rate.  "We don't take a stance one way or the other on whether it's good or bad," said Mark Mather, demographer with the Population Reference Bureau. Small year-to-year changes like those experienced by the United States don't make much difference, he noted. But a sharp or sustained drop over a decade or more "will certainly have long-term consequences for society," he told Utah-based Desert News National.

Japan (1.4 TFR) and Russia (1.6 TFR) are experiencing among the sharpest population declines in the world. One manifestation in Japan is the data on diaper sales: Unicharm Corp., a major diaper maker, has seen sales of adult diapers outpace infant diapers since 2013, according to New York Times.

Median Age Map: Africa in teens, Pakistan in 20s, China, South America and US in 30s, Europe, Canada and Japan in 40s.


The Russian population grew from about 100 million in 1950 to almost149 million by the early 1990s. Since then, the Russian population has declined, and official reports put it at around 144 million, according to Yale Global Online.

Reversing Trends:

Countries, most recently China, are finding that it is far more difficult to raise low fertility than it is reduce high fertility. The countries in the European Union are offering a variety of incentives, including birth starter kits to assist new parents in Finland, cheap childcare centers and liberal parental leave in France and a year of paid maternity leave in Germany, according to Desert News. But the fertility rates in these countries remain below replacement levels.

Summary:

Overzealous Pakistani birth control advocates need to understand what countries with sub-replacement fertility rates are now seeing: Low birth rates lead to diminished economic growth. "Fewer kids mean fewer tax-paying workers to support public pension programs. An "older society", noted the late Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker, is "less dynamic, creative and entrepreneurial." Growing labor force n Pakistan can not only contribute to Pakistan's prosperity but also help alleviate the effects of aging populations and declining labor pools in more developed economies. I believe that Pakistan's growing population and young demographics should be seen as a blessing, not a curse.

Related Links:

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Pakistan is the 7th Largest Source of Migrants in OECD Nations

Pakistanis Mini-Invasion of China

Inspirational Story of Karachi Rickshaw Driver's Daughters

Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

Pakistan's Growing Human Capital

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

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Hindu Population Growth Rate in Pakistan

Do South Asian Slums Offer Hope?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

NYC Gay Pride Parade to Feature Pakistani-American Star of "Queer Eye"

This weekend's Gay Pride Parade in New York City will mark the 50th anniversary of America's Gay Rights Movement. It will feature Tan France, a fashion designer of Pakistani origin who stars in award-winning Netflix series "Queer Eye". Born Tanveer Wasim Safdar in England, Tan France was raised in Doncaster, South Yorkshire in a very strict British Pakistani Muslim household. Tan's partner is Rob France, an illustrator from Salt Lake City, Utah. They have been together for 10 years.

After studying fashion design at Doncaster College, Tan France began working for Zara as a fashion designer. In late 2011, France created a women's clothing line, Kingdom and State, before moving to the United States in 2015. Tan has recently shot to fame as a star of  Emmy Award winning Netflix series "Queer Eye".

Page Six is reporting that  Netflix series "Queer Eye" cast, including Tan France,  Berk, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski will be joining the parade on June 30 — also known as World Pride — that will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which triggered the Gay Rights Movement in the United States. There were violent protests by members of the gay community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village in New York City.

In recently published memoir "Naturally Tan", Tan France has talked about his experience with racism and homophobia.  He told Salt Lake Tribune that he has been repeatedly singled out at Immigration And Customs when entering the United States. "At least 24 times in less than five years. And held in a room with other “brown people.” And asked things like: When was the last time he visited Pakistan? (He was 9.) When was the last time his mom visited Pakistan? When was the last time he operated heavy machinery?", he said.

Tan France is not the only high profile openly gay Pakistani-American. Others are Emmy-winning Karachi-born Hollywood producer Riaz Patel and Lahore-born MIT physicist Dr. Nergis Mavalvala.

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Pakistani-American Gay Physicist Nergis Mavalvala

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Inspirational Story of University-Going Daughters of Karachi's Rickshaw Driver

Three daughters of a Karachi rickshaw driver named Amjad Ali are attending top universities in Pakistan. All three graduated from The Citizens Foundation's K-12 schools located across Pakistan, including poor districts of Pakistan's megacity of nearly 20 million residents. Amina Amjad, the eldest is studying at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) to become a medical doctor, the second daughter is enrolled in Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZBIST) to become an engineer and the third Muskan Amjad is going to the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi's top business school on a full scholarship.

Girls' Education: 

Muskan Amjad
This would be unusual for a poor man's children attending top universities regardless of gender. What makes it particularly noteworthy is that these are daughters of a poor man in a country where girls' education is often ignored.  “People often mocked and criticized me, saying that girls are bound to get married and move out and to stop wasting my hard-earned money on my daughters,” Amjad Ali told hosts of Samaa TV, a private television channel in Pakistan.  The Citizens Foundation (TCF) making it possible by making K-12 education accessible and affordable for Pakistan's disadvantaged children.  There are many success stories of TCF alumni posted on TCF's Facebook page.


Back in 2013, another TCF alumna Anum Fatima, a resident of Ibrahim Goth slum located near Karachi's Steel Town, made history; she went to Harvard Business School as part of a student exchange program. Anum's father is employed as a driver and her mother works as a maid. The slum school she attended is run by The Citizen's Foundation (TCF), a private foundation.

Karachi Rickshaw Driver Amjad Ali and Family 


The Citizens Foundation: 

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a non-profit organization, and operates one of the largest privately owned networks of low-cost formal schools in Pakistan. The Foundation runs 1,567 school units, educating 252,000 students through 12,000 teachers and principals, with over 17,400 employees. It has very low overhead by Pakistani NGO's standards. Approximately 94% of the Foundation's expenditure is allocated to the Education program.

Pakistan Truck Art Message From A Girl: "Let me Study; Let me Advance"

TCF plays a very important role in the lives of its students during school and after they graduate. It runs an Alumni Development Program (ADP) where successful alumni inspire and mentor students and fellow TCF alumni.  Muskan Amjad volunteers for ADP.

If you read Pakistan media headlines and donation-seeking NGOs and activists' reports these days, you'd conclude that the social sector situation is entirely hopeless. However, if you look at children's education and health trend lines based on data from credible international sources, you would feel a sense of optimism. This exercise gives new meaning to what former US President Bill Clinton has said: Follow the trend lines, not the headlines. Unlike the alarming headlines, the trend lines in Pakistan show rising school enrollment rates and declining infant mortality rates.

Key Social Indicators:

The quickest way to assess Pakistan's social sector progress is to look at two key indicators:  School enrollment rates and infant mortality. These basic social indicators capture the state of schooling, nutrition and health care. Pakistan is continuing to make slow but steady progress on both of these indicators. Anything that can be done to accelerate the pace will help Pakistan move up to higher levels as proposed by Dr. Hans Rosling and adopted by the United Nations. 

Rising Primary Enrollment:

Gross enrollment in Pakistani primary schools exceeded 97% in 2016, up from 92% ten years ago. Gross enrollment rate (GER) is different from net enrollment rate (NER). The former refers to primary enrollment of all students of all ages while the latter counts enrolled students as percentage of students in the official primary age bracket. The primary NER in Pakistan is significantly lower but the higher GER indicates many of these kids eventually enroll in primary schools albeit at older ages. 

Source: World Bank Education Statistics


Declining Infant Mortality Rate: 

The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths in children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births in the same year, is universally regarded as a highly sensitive (proxy) measure of population health.  A declining rate is an indication of improving health. IMR in Pakistan has declined from 86 in 1990-91 to 74 in 2012-13 and 62 in the latest survey in 2017-18.

Pakistan Child Mortality Rates. Source: PDHS 2017-18

During the 5 years immediately preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The child mortality rate was 13 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-5 mortality rate was 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. Eighty-four percent of all deaths among children under age 5 in Pakistan take place before a child’s first birthday, with 57% occurring during the first month of life (42 deaths per 1,000 live births).

Human Development Ranking:

It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) represents human progress in one indicator that combines information on people’s health, education and income.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future:

Pakistani leaders should heed the recommendations of a recent report by the World Bank titled "Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future" regarding investments in the people. Here's a key excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report".

Summary: 

The story of Muskan Amjad shows that the state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There's reason for optimism. Key indicators show that education and health care in Pakistan are improving but such improvements are slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

Here's a video clip of Amjad Ali and his family's appearance on Samaa TV's Naya Din show:

https://youtu.be/7qXI93xdOn8



Related Links:



Monday, June 17, 2019

Vehicles in Pakistan: Over Half of All Households Own Motorcycles in 2019

Private vehicle ownership in Pakistan has risen sharply over the last 4 years. More than 9% of households now own cars, up from 6% in 2015. Motorcycle ownership has jumped from 41% of households in 2015 to 53% now, according to data released by Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) recently. There are 32.2 million households in Pakistan, according to 2017 Census.

Vehicle Ownership in Pakistan. Source: PBS

Total number of vehicles registered in Pakistan increased 9.6% to 23,588,268 in 2018, up from 21,506,641 vehicles in 2017. Of all the vehicle categories, motorcycles saw the biggest increase of 11.5% reaching 17,465,880. Cars, jeeps and station wagons rose 5.3% reaching 3,043,593. Trucks surged to 277,416 and buses to 236,461, according to Pakistan Today.

Pakistan is now the 5th largest motorcycle market in the world after China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. With 7,500 new motorcycles being sold everyday, Pakistan is also the among the world's fastest growing two-wheeler markets. Passenger car and motorcycle sales in Pakistan have both been soaring at rates of over 20% a year until recently.


Motorcycle ownership data is yet another confirmation of the fact that the majority of the households in Pakistan now belong to the middle class, a first in Pakistan's history. This was first reported in 2015 research done by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL).

It's an important tipping point that puts Pakistan among the top 5 countries with fastest growing middle class population in Asia-Pacific region, according to an Asian Development Bank report titled Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present, And Future. The ADB report put Pakistan's middle class growth from 1990 to 2008 at 36.5%, much faster than India's 12.5% growth in the same period.


Related Links:

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The State of Pakistan's Social Sector

Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy Among World's Fastest Growing

Pakistan: A Majority Middle Class Country

Karachi School of Business and Leadership

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College Enrollment in Pakistan

Musharraf Accelerated Development of Pakistan's Human and Financial Capital

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Trump's China Tariffs Helping Pakistani Garments Exports to America

Pakistan's garments exports to the United States have jumped 12% in first quarter of 2019 from the same period a year ago, according to USITC Dataweb.  This double digit exports growth is being partly attributed to US President Donald's Trump ongoing trade war with China with the US government imposing 10% to 25% tariffs on certain Chinese goods. Pakistani rupee devaluation has also contributed to the nation's overall competitiveness.

Textile Exports to United States. Source: Bloomberg

American buyers are diversifying their supplier base away from China, the No. 1 exporter of these goods to the U.S. Already, Bangladesh is close to snatching the trousers-to-towel crown, according to Bloomberg News. Pakistan, at No. 6 last year, has grown its own shipments to the U.S. by almost 12% this year. It may overtake India, which has seen virtually no improvement.

Pakistan's Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER). Source:  Bloomberg

Pakistani apparel exports are becoming more competitive in international markets because Pakistani rupee has declined by almost 25% recently. This has wiped out the currency’s overvaluation adjusted for inflation differences with trading partners, as estimated by the IMF.

Textiles industry is just one the export industries seeing exodus of manufactures and buyers from China.  Electronics industry is seeing similar moves. Engadget is reporting that Google is moving production of its US-bound Nest thermostats and motherboards to Taiwan. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Nintendo is shifting at least some production of its Switch console to Southeast Asia.

Last November, Nomura Securities strategists had said they expected Malaysia, Japan and Pakistan  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).

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Improved Security and New Infrastructure Boost Pakistan Tourism Industry

Large numbers of Pakistanis headed north for respite from summer heat during Eid ul Fitr holidays last week. Tens of thousands went to Swat using the newly built Swat Expressway while others chose even cooler temperatures in the heights of the Karakoram mountain via the improved Karakoram Highway. Some of the preferred tourist destinations included Hunza, Astore, Fairy Meadows, Neelum Valley, Swat and Kumrat. In addition to using tents in camping areas, many tourists found accommodations in public rest houses ordered opened by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Fairy Meadows near Nanga Parbat in Gilgit Baltistan

Swat Expressway:

Over 60,000 vehicles used the expressway to enter Swat Valley over Eid holidays, according to local officials as reported by Pakistani media. It's a far cry from early 2009 when the Taliban appeared to be in control of Pakistan's Swat valley, and the US politicians and international media were deeply concerned about the insurgents closing in on Islamabad.

Then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned in 2009 that Pakistan was “abdicating to the Taliban”. Various western commentators and pundits went further by predicting Pakistan's "imminent collapse", and the usual foreign policy rags chimed in with their shrill talk of Pakistan as a "failed state".  By 2011, Pakistan Army cleared Swat of the militants, brought refugees back home and began to restore tourism.

Swat Expressway

Built by Pakistani military's Frontier Works Organization (FWO) under contract for Khyber Pukhtunkhwa privincial government, the Swat Expressway is a state-of-the-art 81 kilometers (50 miles)  long 4-lane controlled access motorway that is opening up the hidden treasures of Swat, Chitral, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Kohistan, Shangla, Buner, Mohmand and Bajaur districts to the world. It's been funded by a $50 million grant by the Saudi government. Its southernmost point is Karnal Sher interchange in Swabi District on Peshawar-Islamabad M1 Motorway and goes north to Chakdara Dir Lower district after passing through 21 bridges and 1300 meters twin tunnels on National Highway N-45.

Karakoram Highway (KKH)


Karakoram Highway:

Karakoram Highway (KKH), the highest paved road in the world, is a 1,300 kilometer (810 miles) Pakistani national highway that extends from Hasan Abdal in the Punjab province via Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) prvince to the Khunjerab Pass in Gilgit-Baltistan, where it crosses into China.  KKH upgrade is a $1.3 billion project expected to be completed as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by 2020. After the upgrade, widths of its various sections will be in the range of  12.5 meters to 30 meters. Minimum widths of lanes will generally be between 2.5 to 3.25 meters.

KKH has opened up a world of unmatched natural beauty and splendor of places like Hunza, Astore and Fairy Meadows for domestic and foreign tourists. It has connected many cities and towns including Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Besham, Pattan, Dasu, Chilas, Gilgit, Aliabad, Gulmit, Sust, Tashkurgan, Upal And Kashgar.

Pakistan's tourism industry, currently estimated at $20 billion (6.9% of GDP in 2016), is booming, according to data available from multiple reliable sources. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts it to grow to over $36 billion within a decade.

Economic Impact of Tourism:

Pakistan tourism industry generates $20 billion in revenue and supports 3.6 million jobs directly and indirectly, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Foreign visitors generate nearly a billion US$ in exports.

Economic Contribution of Pakistan Tourism. Source: WTTC

Tourism Growth: 

Significantly improved security situation has helped boost annual tourist arrivals in Pakistan by 300% since 2013 to 1.75 million in 2016, while domestic travelers increased 30% to 38.3 million, according to the state-owned Pakistan Tourism Development Corp.  Hotel bookings increased 80 percent in 2016, according to Jovago, Pakistan’s biggest hotel booking website.

Courtesy: Nikkei Asian Review

By contrast, foreign tourist arrivals in the country’s larger neighbor, India, jumped from 6.97 million in 2013 to 8.8 million in 2016, according to Indian government figures. 88% of India's and 92% of Pakistan's tourism revenue is domestic. India's tourism industry is worth $209 billion (9.6% of of GDP in 2016), according to WTTC.

A story in the Financial Times, a British newspaper, quotes British tour operator Jonny Bealby as saying,   “While I am sure this will raise some eyebrows, we are starting to see a marked increase in tourism to Pakistan".  Bealby's company arranged 55% more clients to Pakistan in 2017 compared with 2016, and advance bookings are more than 100 per cent up on this point 12 months ago, according to the Financial Times.

Top Adventure Tourism Destination: 

British Backpackers Society has recently ranked Pakistan as its top destination for adventure tourism.  The Society describes Pakistan “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”.

Pakistan Tourism Promotion in Jakarata, Indonesia
Pakistan's northern areas are a top destination for adventure-seekers interested in mountain climbing, white water rafting,  extreme kayaking and helicopter skiing.

Pakistan Brand Promotion on London Buses

Pakistan Tourism Promotion: 

Pakistan government's tourism campaign — including covering buses in several major world cities with beautiful pictures of Pakistan's tourist attraction — have helped raise the country’s profile. Increased investments in roads, airports and other infrastructure have helped ease travel.



Pakistan government has announced its decision to provide 30 day tourist visa on arrival for visitors from 24 countries on three continents.

Summary:

Improved security and new infrastructure are boosting Pakistan's domestic and international tourism. The industry in Pakistan is booming with 300% increase in foreign tourist arrivals since 2013.  Tens of thousands of domestic tourists went to Swat using the newly built Swat Expressway while others chose even cooler temperatures in the heights of the Karakoram mountain via the improved Karakoram Highway. Some of the preferred tourist destinations included Hunza, Astore, Fairy Meadows, Neelum Valley, Swat and Kumrat. In addition to using tents in camping areas, many tourists found accommodations in public rest houses ordered opened by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Tourism industry contributed $20 billion (6.9% of GDP in 2016) and supported 3.6 million jobs in Pakistan in 2016.  World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts it to grow to over $36 billion within a decade.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Travel and Tourism Boom

Extreme Kayak Adventures in Pakistan

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How Grim is the State of Pakistan's Social Sector?

If you read Pakistan media headlines and donation-seeking NGOs and activists' reports these days, you'd conclude that the social sector situation is entirely hopeless. However, if you look at children's education and health trend lines based on data from credible international sources, you would feel a sense of optimism. This exercise gives new meaning to what former US President Bill Clinton has said: Follow the trend lines, not the headlines. Unlike the alarming headlines, the trend lines in Pakistan show rising school enrollment rates and declining infant mortality rates.

Key Social Indicators:

The quickest way to assess Pakistan's social sector progress is to look at two key indicators:  School enrollment rates and infant mortality. These basic social indicators capture the state of schooling, nutrition and health care. Pakistan is continuing to make slow but steady progress on both of these indicators. Anything that can be done to accelerate the pace will help Pakistan move up to higher levels as proposed by Dr. Hans Rosling and adopted by the United Nations. 

Rising Primary Enrollment:

Gross enrollment in Pakistani primary schools exceeded 97% in 2016, up from 92% ten years ago. Gross enrollment rate (GER) is different from net enrollment rate (NER). The former refers to primary enrollment of all students of all ages while the latter counts enrolled students as percentage of students in the official primary age bracket. The primary NER in Pakistan is significantly lower but the higher GER indicates many of these kids eventually enroll in primary schools albeit at older ages. 

Source: World Bank Education Statistics


Declining Infant Mortality Rate: 

The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths in children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births in the same year, is universally regarded as a highly sensitive (proxy) measure of population health.  A declining rate is an indication of improving health. IMR in Pakistan has declined from 86 in 1990-91 to 74 in 2012-13 and 62 in the latest survey in 2017-18.

Pakistan Child Mortality Rates. Source: PDHS 2017-18

During the 5 years immediately preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The child mortality rate was 13 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-5 mortality rate was 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. Eighty-four percent of all deaths among children under age 5 in Pakistan take place before a child’s first birthday, with 57% occurring during the first month of life (42 deaths per 1,000 live births).

Human Development Ranking:

It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) represents human progress in one indicator that combines information on people’s health, education and income.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future:

Pakistani leaders should heed the recommendations of a recent report by the World Bank titled "Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future" regarding investments in the people. Here's a key excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report".

Summary: 

The state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There's reason for optimism. Key indicators show that education and health care in Pakistan are improving but such improvements are slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

Related Links:

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Drip Irrigation: Can Pakistan Make its Deserts Bloom?

Large tracts of desert in Cholistan, Kharan and Thar land lay barren in Pakistan today. Can some parts of these deserts be made to bloom given the worsening water crisis in the country with per capita water availability approaching 900 cubic meters? How does Pakistan improve long term food security for its growing population? The answer to both lies in efficient water management through effective drip irrigation.

Drip Irrigation 

What is Drip Irrigation:

Drip irrigation is a micro-irrigation system using tubing that saves water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly into the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. It puts water directly into the roots and minimizes evaporation.

Water mixed with fertilizer is carried out through tubes which release a small amounts of water per minute directly to the roots of each plant. Precision watering cuts evaporation, run off, and waste.

More Crop Per Drop:

Agriculture uses over 90% of all available fresh water in Pakistan. "More crop per drop" program focuses on improving water use efficiency by promoting drip and sprinkler irrigation in agriculture in Pakistan.

The Punjab government started this effort with the World Bank with $250 million investment.  The World Bank is now providing additional $130 million financing for the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Program Phase-I.

The project is the Punjab Government's initiative called High-Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS) to more than doubles the efficiency of water use. Under the project, drip irrigation systems have been installed on about 26,000 acres, and 5,000 laser leveling units have been provided. The additional financing will ensure completion of 120,000 acres with ponds in saline areas and for rainwater harvesting, and filtration systems for drinking water where possible, according to the World Bank.

Cost of Drip Irrigation System:

Most crops are not irrigated with the drip method due to higher costs. In the United States and Spain, where the technology is used most, it comprises 6.75 and 2.75 percent of the total irrigated area, respectively, according to the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage. Farmers are offered subsidies to encourage the use of drip irrigation in most countries as a way of conserving precious water.

Subsidies in Punjab, Pakistan:

Punjab provincial government is subsidizing up to 60% of the cost of installing new drip irrigation systems, according to Business Recorder newspaper.  Director General Agriculture (Water Management) Malik Muhammad Akram said that latest irrigation techniques ensure availability of water and fertilizer in time to the plants and it also ensure uniform supply of these two major ingredients to all the plants in a field. It helps attaining more per acre yield with minimum agricultural inputs, he added, according to the paper.

There's at least one example of public-private partnership to promote drip irrigation in Sheikhupura near Lahore. The installation has been carried out by NestlĂ© Pakistan in collaboration with the Government of Punjab, covering 40% and 60% of the farmer’s cost respectively. The Agricultural Efficiency Project was initiated in the year 2017 and has so far covered 109 acres of land in 2018 with an estimated 280 million liters of water saved, according to a Nestle press release.

Using drip irrigation, farmers can save up to 95% of water and reduce fertilizer use, compared to surface irrigation, according to Malik Mohammad Akram. In flood irrigation – the traditional method of agriculture in the region – a farmer uses 412,000 liters per acre, while using drip irrigation the same land can be irrigated with just 232,000 liters of water, he explained to Zofeen Ibrahim of The Third Pole that covers Asia's water crisis.

Success Stories:

Writing for The Third Pole,  Zofeen Ebrahim has cited a couple of success stories of farmers receiving Punjab government's drip irrigation subsidies: The stories of ex IT Engineer Hasan Abdullah and Infiniti Agro and Livestock Farm.

Hasan Abdulla is has planted an orchard on his 40-acre plot in Cholistan Desert. He has orange, lemon olive trees which are now fruiting three years after planting. He is among the first farmers experimenting with drip irrigation.While Abdullah was saving water, the cost of diesel for running water pump was proving astronomical. It would have been difficult for Abdullah to continue farming with drip irrigation had the government not announced an 80% subsidy on solar power plants for farmers in 2018. He promptly took it up.

Asif Riaz Taj, who manages Infiniti Agro and Livestock Farm in Bahawalpur, heard of Abdulla's drip irrigation project and paid him a visit. He like it and decided to follow the example.  Now in their fourth year, the Infiniti orchards have started fruiting over 70 acres. But it will not be before its sixth year, Taj said, that they will “break even”. The drip irrigation and solar plant was installed at a cost of PKR 25 million (USD 174,000), and the monthly running cost of this farm is almost PKR 4 million (USD 28,000).

Summary:

Pakistan faces a severe water crisis that threatens the nation's long term food security.  The country needs to expand area under cultivation while efficiently managing its precious water resources. It needs to make parts of its deserts bloom. The best way to do it efficient water management through effective drip irrigation. Such projects are expensive to implement. The Punjab government is offering up to 60% subsidy to farmers to encourage wider use of drip irrigation.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Water Crisis: Facts and Myths 

Groundwater Depletion in Pakistan

Water Scarce Pakistan

Cycles of Drought and Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan to Build Massive Dams

Dust Bowl in Thar Desert Region

Dasht River in Balochistan