1. Socio-economic conditions in Afghanistan and role of Global Community
President COPAIR, Ms. Amna Munawar Awan, participated in an International conference organized by International Schiller Institute. Ms. Amna presented her views on “Socio Economic condition in Afghanistan and role of Global Community”. She broadly talked about Afghanistan’s economic condition and policy recommendations for international community.
Explaining the post-withdrawal dynamics of Afghanistan, she said, since the withdrawal of US and NATO troops on 15 August 2021, a new interim Taliban-led government is now in power in Afghanistan. The flows of international aid and development assistance which the country largely depended on for its advancement prior to 15 August 2021 have been almost entirely disrupted. In addition, the International donor agencies like World Bank, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the EU decided to freeze budgeted project funding, payments to Afghanistan, Afghan-owned assets abroad, as well as official development assistance plans. She highlighted, the new phase of reconstruction and state re-building in Afghanistan may hence be passed on to other regional actors, such as Pakistan, China and Russia.
While discussing the Afghanistan’s Economic Condition, she said, Afghanistan is among the poorest nations in the world. According to the UN 2020 Human Development Report on the country. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) defines multidimensional poverty as deprivation in health, education and standard of living. The report also indicates that the gross national income (GNI) per capita decreased by roughly 10% in the last 30 years. She further said that, currently, the Afghan economy does not produce enough revenue to provide even basic needs such as food or power for its citizens. As of 2019, its exports total value of 870 mln USD, while the imports amount to almost 8.6 bn USD. The country is in desperate need for foreign assistance in order to spur renewal and growth.
She further said, there are no available positions for other ethnic groups, women, and minorities in the Taliban’s caretaker government. This has highlighted the Taliban’s neglect of the civil and political rights of the population and demonstrated their refusal to compromise. Harsh rules placed on youth, public executions, discriminatory behavior against minorities, and the lack of representation in government have discouraged people from participating and re engaging in societal affairs.
While building on the emerging economic and governance situation, Ms. Amna presented important policy recommendations for International Community.
- Programs could also include a discourse component to provide a safe opportunity for individuals from different sectors to engage in critical reflection and dialogue on socio-economic issues.
- For humanitarian and development assistance of Afghanistan International community should convene a donors’ platform to galvanize the world to help Afghanistan’s civil society and humanitarian organizations develop a consistent plan with pragmatic benchmarks and long-term continued support to address this human security crisis.
- Securing the resumption of financial flows by providing refinancing and cash to banks in the economy which is largely cash-based and in which only 15% of the population have access to traditional banking services.
- Partnering with foreign academic institutions and governments for providing tertiary education opportunities in Afghanistan or abroad.
- Troika Plus – Islamabad hosting a meeting comprising Pakistan, China, Russia, and the United States to discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan.
- Pakistan has always supported peace, regional cooperation and economic stability in Afghanistan.
- Pakistan has facilitated and continue to facilitate peace building initiatives in Afghanistan.
“Peace in South Asia depends largely on peaceful Afghanistan. Pakistan appreciates the new government in Kabul to form an inclusive government, secure peace, and stability, and achieve economic development in the country.”
Amna further presented new level of practical policy option for Pakistan which identifies the following main priorities:
- Regional Cooperation for Economic Relief
- Humanitarian Assistance Package
- Enhancing Role of Regional Organizations
- Protection and Security of Investors
- Focus on Long-term Economic Goals
- Support for Inclusive Government
- Support for Development Assistance Projects
- Connectivity Through Transportation Infrastructure
Ms. Amna Munawar summarized her address by saying that peace in South Asia depends largely on peaceful Afghanistan. Pakistan appreciates the new government in Kabul to form an inclusive government, secure peace, and stability, and achieve economic development in the country.
2. Pakistan-Uzbekistan Women Entrepreneurial Connectivity: Exploring Future Prospects
President Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR), Ms. Amna Munawar Awan present her remarks in an International conference “Pakistan-Uzbekistan Women Entrepreneurial Connectivity: Exploring Future Prospects”. The conference was jointly organized by the Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) and Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Uzbekistan Businesswomen Association, Tashkent.
Ms. Amna Munawar, President COPAIR, from Pakistan said that there is a need to collaborate in the pharmaceutical and textile sectors. She further said that both Uzbekistan and Pakistan should explore the possibilities of connecting women entrepreneurs. She highlighted the prospects of collaborating in construction and building. She stated that we would like to get connected with the craftsman of Uzbekistan to implement their designs in Pakistan. Ms. Amna also highlighted that the best way to connect women is through Information Communication Technology. In this aspect, we can help startups, Small and mid-size enterprises, and entrepreneurs to organize training for students and fresh entrepreneurs. Furthermore, organizing public talks for women to share their success stories is also very important.
The conference commenced with the remarks of Ms. Gulnora Makhmudova, Chairperson, and Business Women Association of Uzbekistan. She extended gratitude to the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad, and the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Pakistan for the support and guidance to women entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan. She highlighted that cooperation between women of both countries is very important for Pakistan and Uzbekistan as they have a huge potential in economic partnerships, specifically in entrepreneurship. Ms. Madiha Ghaffar, Media, and Communication Manager, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad stated that Uzbekistan and Pakistan have always shared great historical, cultural, and religious ties. Under the present leadership of Uzbekistan, the year 2021 has witnessed an impressive improvement in the bilateral trade relations of Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Women Entrepreneurs from both countries can play a vital role in facilitating this connectivity by exploring the possible areas of collaboration.
Ms. Odilbekova Dilnoza, Representative of the Business Women Association of Uzbekistan stated that multicultural Marketing is to recognize different ethnicities and cultures in consumer base. This marketing strategy also focuses on subgroups such as gender, age, disability, and religion of the target audience. She stated that a brand is always recommended to refrain from stereotyping cultures and make effort to understand its consumers’ culture. She highlighted that in today’s world, consumers demand diversity in the representation of the products of any brand. Hence, brands must develop a multicultural marketing strategy to connect with their consumers.
Ms. Zamira Yunusova, Specialist, Ministry of Textile Industry of Uzbekistan stated that the textile industry contributes greatly to the economy of Uzbekistan. She gave a detailed presentation explaining the textile factories in the country that are operated and run by women. She shared that apart from factories, they also have private companies in the textile industry. These companies have a board of directors in the factory, international counselors, advertising and marketing departments as well they participate in international exhibitions. Ms. Zamira stated that Uzbekistan’s designers work in specific design centers to create new designs, illustrate international clothing and also exhibit them. She also shared that they exhibited oriental clothing in Pakistan and had a great experience with the market and audience in Pakistan. While concluding her speech, she stated that the main focus is to develop smart textile technologies in Uzbekistan that will enhance export internationally.
H.E Aybek Arif Usmanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Pakistan graced the conference with his remarks. He extended his gratitude to CGSS and its entire team. He also mentioned the experts from the University of the Punjab, Lahore, and MNS University of Agriculture, Multan. H.E Aybek Arif Usmanov stated that Pakistan and Uzbekistan have shared ties for a very long time. Moreover, the recent developments and official visits have helped our relations to grow dynamically.
The conference brought together women entrepreneurs and relevant subject experts at a single platform for a fruitful discussion. The significant subject discussions addressed the challenges faced in developing entrepreneurial linkages between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and presented constructive solutions through discussion and linkages. The conference was attended by the women entrepreneurs, businesswomen, students, and women from various sectors of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.