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President for further enhancing ECO’s trade connectivity

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi has said that ECO region has the potential and capacity to function as a bridge between North and South, Europe and Asia. He added that there is a need to further strengthen transport and communication infrastructure, facilitate trade and investment and identify important sectoral priorities of the ECO for development and growth in the region.

The President said this while talking to Secretary General, Economic Cooperation Organization Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, who called on him in Islamabad on Thursday. The President emphasized that ECO Vision 2025 would serve as a roadmap for the Organization.

He further said that we are undertaking necessary steps to meet the timelines mentioned in the Implementation Framework of the Vision 2025. He underscored that Pakistan believes robust implementation of ECO Trade Agreements would be a step towards minimizing barriers to trade and ultimately establishing a Free Trade Area as enshrined in ECO Vision 2025.

He stated that Pakistan is upgrading its rail and road infrastructure in order to facilitate smooth flow of goods to its neighbours and to galvanize trade opportunities within the ECO region.

The President highlighted that Pakistan will continue to contribute to ECO’s efforts to provide assistance to Afghanistan and is presently the highest donor to ECO’s initiative for reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Secretary General, Economic Cooperation Organization Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour said that Pakistan has always been an active member of ECO and cornerstone of peace and cooperation in the region. He further stated that there is a huge potential of ecotourism in Pakistan which can be a huge attraction for the international tourists.

Meanwhile, President Dr. Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan has lagged behind in software exports due to lack of focus and proper specialised training.

The President said this during a video conference with a group of leading Pakistani IT experts from Silicon Valley to discuss Pakistan Software Business Initiative and training programmes for information technology students of the country.

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was also present on the occasion. The President emphasized that if executed as proposed Pakistan can generate foreign exchange and have a world class software workforce.

He added that it will also check the drainage of technical specialists to the other countries. Under this programme, initially 250 software graduates will be trained by overseas trainers. The basic objective of this initiative is to train the students and prepare them for software development jobs, especially relating to Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain and Mobile Application, in the highly competitive global market.

This proposal outlines the technical areas that Pakistani engineers need to be trained in order to meet the industry standards. Moreover, this programme aims to create market relevance for the IT graduates and improve the quality of IT education in the country.

Likewise, it will also lead towards the promotion of IT research in relation to industrial and agricultural sectors. The trained software experts will further train other developers and students in the country. The President will also present these proposals in the forthcoming conference of Vice Chancellors in order to incorporate these measures in our educational structure.