EAM Bakhtyar endorses CAREC framework

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday – December 8, 2020
ISLAMABAD: While endorsing the framework, economic affairs minister (EAM) Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar emphasised, Monday, setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound targets along with active monitoring, annual reporting the member countries can effectively gauge the progress leading to effective implementation of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) vision 2030.

According to press releases, he was virtually addressing 19th ministerial conference on CAREC chaired by Afghan acting finance minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal and co-chaired by Asian Development Bank (ADB) vice-president Shixin Chen.

He highlighted significance of regional cooperation in achieving shared goals of sustainable development and economic growth.

EAM Bakhtyar reiterated importance of regional connectivity not only through roads but also rail, aviation and ports for unleashing trade and tourism potential in the region.

He highlighted tourism as part of national development policy of incumbent regime citing the sector containing immense untapped potential.

EAM Bakhtyar suggested the development of regional tourism corridor, establishment of CAREC business council and increased involvement of the private sector in promoting tourism.

He highlighted incumbent’s focus on facilitating the private sector for increased investment.

EAM Bakhtyar suggested enhanced visa facilitation regime in the form of “CAREC sticker” for certain categories within the region.

He highlighted the need of transit trade agreements amongst member countries leading to a possible regional free trade agreement.

EAM Bakhtyar endorsed long term CAREC strategies to promote regional tourism and gender mainstreaming.

He suggested CAREC institute to conduct comprehensive studies identifying underlying gaps including roadmaps on mutually beneficial topics.

“Pakistan attaches high importance to CAREC as it is aligned with our national priorities of regional integration and cooperation,” EAM Bakhtyar concluded.

The Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, appreciating prime minister (PM) Imran Khan’s recent visit to Kabul, termed PM’s visit an important milestone in strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing prospectus for regional cooperation and integration.

ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa cited the importance of digitalisation and leveraging the private sector to nurture a people-centric economic recovery as Central Asia bounces back from the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis.

CAREC ministers endorsed the CAREC programme results framework as well as the CAREC tourism strategy 2030 and the CAREC gender strategy 2030.

The conference provided an opportunity to hold high-level deliberations on importance of regional cooperation to restore economic stability, support economic growth, create jobs and livelihood opportunities in CAREC member countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

CAREC is a partnership of 11 countries and 6 development partners working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction.

The ministers and senior representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan addressed the conference.

In addition, senior representatives of ADB, international monetary fund (IMF), world bank (WB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), organisation of the petroleum exporting countries fund for international development (OFID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), united nations (UN) agencies, world trade organisation (WTO) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also attended the conference.