Busi­ness con­clave for more re­gional co­op­er­a­tion

Enterprise - - Conference -

The 4th SAARC Busi­ness Lead­ers Con­clave ( SBLC) was or­ga­nized in Kath­mandu, Nepal. Aimed at pro­mot­ing trade and busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties among the mem­ber coun­tries, the con­clave was or­ga­nized by the SAARC Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try in-col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fed­er­a­tion of Nepalese Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try ( FNCCI) and Friedrich Nau­mann Stiftung. Busi­ness lead­ers of South Asia. It was at­tended by prom­i­nent economists and pol­icy-mak­ers from across the world. A del­e­ga­tion com­pris­ing about 80 top Pak­istani busi­ness­men also at­tended the moot.

The first con­clave of its kind to be held in Nepal, the 4th SBLC car­ried the theme of “ Peace and Pros­per­ity through Re­gional Con­nec­tiv­ity” to ad­dress the im­prove­ment of the liv­ing stan­dards of the peo­ple and al­le­vi­ate poverty from the re­gion.

The three-day event fo­cused on the chal­lenges to the in­te­gra­tion of South Asian coun­tries, most im­por­tantly the thinnest com­mer­cial bonds among the coun­tries of South Asia than any other re­gion. As stated by Sar­taj Aziz, Former Fi­nance and For­eign Min­is­ter of Pak­istan, “ The po­lit­i­cal lead­ers of South Asia need to take bold ini­tia­tives and ex­hibit great po­lit­i­cal will if they want mean­ing eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion of SAARC and foster the re­gional co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism.”

S. M. Muneer, Pres­i­dent Indo-Pak­istan Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try, said, “ South Asia has poor con­nec­tiv­ity in ev­ery sec­tor. We have poor trans­port net­work to sup­port trade and com­merce when com­pared to other re­gions. With­out hon­est in­volve­ment of all coun­tries in­trare­gional con­nec­tiv­ity could not be build.” He urged South Asian gov­ern­ments to over­see po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences to build bet­ter trade and in­vest­ment re­la­tion­ship. In­dia is a ma­jor trade part­ner of South Asian coun­tries, so In­dia should lead to­ward it, he said.

An­nisul Huq, Pres­i­dent SAARC Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try ( SAARC-CCI) also stressed on the greater con­nec­tiv­ity and mo­bil­ity of peo­ple within SAARC re­gion for the re­gional pros­per­ity. Terming food and en­ergy cri­sis as the ma­jor chal­lenges to the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, Huq sug­gested that re­gional pros­per­ity could be at­tained through proper uti­liza­tion of ex­ist­ing nat­u­ral re­sources through col­lec­tive ef­fort of busi­ness com­mu­nity and the gov­ern­ments of the re­gion.

Se­nior ad­vi­sor of the Afghanistan Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try Mo­hamad Daood Moosa said that mis­trust among South Asian coun­tries is the root cause of low com­mer­cial de­pen­dence among them. Our in­trare­gional trade is just 5.8 per­cent of to­tal trade and al­most three times more to East Asian coun­tries, so we need to re­vise our trade mind­set to­day.

In­dian del­e­gate, Ma­hesh K Sa­haria fo­cused on the pri­vate sec­tor to unite and lobby for in­trare­gional ben­e­fit that will ben­e­fit all. “ If we all unite and lobby for re­gional trade and in­vest­ment we can con­vince po­lit­i­cal lead­ers on it,” he con­veyed.

SAARC Cham­ber Women En­tre­pre­neur Coun­cil ( SCWEC) also held a work­ing ses­sion un­der the theme ‘ Women Lead­er­ship for Re­gional Busi­ness Op­por­tu­ni­ties’ at the fourth SAARC Busi­ness Lead­ers Con­clave. The Chair­per­son SCWEC, Pramila Acharya Ri­jal as­serted, “ This is an ini­tia­tive to pro­mote stronger co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the busi­ness­women in the re­gion and the po­ten­tial for in­creas­ing trade be­tween SAARC mem­ber na­tions, the chal­lenges therein and the op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness­women within the re­gion.” The dis­cus­sions in­cluded iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of broad op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness­women in the re­gion and showed the way for­ward for spe­cific sec­tors.

The con­clud­ing re­marks were given by Tariq Say­eed, who high­lighted the non­res­o­lu­tion of po­lit­i­cal is­sues as the big­gest hur­dle in the way of the in­te­gra­tion process al­ready be­ing led by the pri­vate sec­tor in South Asia. The sec­tor is in­volved in pro­mot­ing eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion in the re­gion and de­mands of the Gov­ern­ments to pro­vide a busi­ness-en­abling environment to foster the pace of eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion

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