Towards a more open and forward looking business environment


Towards a more open and forward looking business environment
Dr. Adnan Shahid of CAAYE (left) presents a shield to Nageen Rizvi, Project Head Aman Ki Asha; (centre) Shaban Khalid of YEF. Photo: Khalid Raja, The News

50 young entrepreneurs from Pakistan and India representing the Young Entrepreneurs Forum (YEF) of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Young Indians (Yi) met under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE) in Islamabad, Oct 27-31, 2013.

The meeting aimed to facilitate the sharing of common values and looking and ways and means to strengthen personal and business ties to realise the immense potential of India and Pakistan.

At the conclusion of this historic event, young Indian and Pakistani entrepreneurs issued the following Joint Statement:

Through this Joint Statement, we wish to propose specific actions and a process to establish a more open and forward looking business environment that our Governments could endorse to help establish and encourage an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem between India and Pakistan. Our recommendations aim to bring down the barriers between the youth, change perceptions, increase people to people interaction and provide opportunities to increase the flow of trade, business, and constructive ideas.

Building Bridges of FriendshipShaban_Khalid

The Young Entrepreneurs of India and Pakistan strongly believe that friendships across our borders can bring prosperity, peace and stability in our Subcontinent. Our nations have a lot in common and if we start listening to the voices of citizens with mutual respect and build empathy, strong mutual bonds that break down the distances created by physical borders, will surely emerge.

Encouraging Business

The Young Entrepreneurs of India and Pakistan strongly believe that a sustained effort is needed to utilize opportunities for liberal exchange of thoughts and ideas. Our countries have an abundant talent pool and through well structured people to people, non-political exchanges, mutual trust will need to be built on both sides. This will lay a strong foundation for dialogues that promote trade, cultural exchanges, sports, tourism, agriculture, software, education, etc.

In time, we hope a common market is created between India and Pakistan with minimum levels of trade barriers, a simplified visa regime and improved border security. Alliances between business associations and higher education institutions would also assist in this sustained dialogue.

Creating a Regional Economic Powerhouse

Cooperation between the people of India and Pakistan has the potential to create a formidable economic powerhouse in Asia and the world. Inter-dependence nurtured by a feeling of friendship will create a new future where economic and social upliftment would improve the quality of life in the region. Peace will lead to progress of our economies, build trust and create a positive social culture.

Indian_delegatesA Way Forward
We believe that to co-create the future, young entrepreneurs should:

* Commit to sustained, open people-to-people dialogue and communication

* Build a network of leaders and role models to build cordial relations and people connect

* Create a mentorship network for encouraging youth entrepreneurship

* Facilitate student exchanges for cultural immersion and academic programmes

* Continuously create platforms for meeting peers and engaging in free and frank constructive conversations, including conferences, trade fairs, exhibitions, youth exchange programmes and the like

Create Enabling Environments

* Build an atmosphere of trust and policy transparency

* Ease travel and communication across our borders for seamless people-to-people contact

* Invest in educational programmes and curriculum development tailored to the job market in both countries and enable a robust system for cross border employment

* Develop vocational and technical skills to develop a pool of right-skilled manpower in both countries

* Set up world class incubation centres and innovation labs

Encourage trade and commerce

* Easing of cross border trade tariff rationalization and improving trade infrastructure and pruning of negative list

* Trading of technology and best practices

* Explore the possibility of trade in energy and power through better cooperation

* Promote cross border investments through incentivizing Joint Ventures across sectors of mutual strength

* Improving access to finance through better banking facilities such as allowing opening up of respective countries’ bank branches

* Encourage the use of social media to build a borderless world linking youth of both nations

* Discourage informal trade between our countries by creating a conducive trade policy

* Create a convenient currency exchange and bank remittances mechanism

* Establish state of the art and modern port facilities at the trade border posts for easy and quick exchange of goods

We would encourage youth, the vibrant diaspora of both countries, social media channels, role models, leaders and celebrities to take an active role in ensuring steps are taken in line with these recommendations.

As representatives of young entrepreneurs in India and Pakistan, we are eager to contribute to building peace, prosperity and growth of our Sub-continent. We have full faith that our Governments, institutions and fellow citizens of our two great nations will endorse the ideas outlined in this joint statement.




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