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As shown by the technical underpinnings of its Ehsaas emergency program, Pakistan has all of the necessary building blocks to roll out its digital payments system and expand access to mobile money. It should seize the opportunity.
Although the new government has yet to take office, Imran Khan, who as of Monday has won the most seats in parliament, is expected to realize his long-term aim of becoming prime minister. Having run on a platform of ending corruption and promoting human development, expectations are high especially amongst his younger urban supporters. However, he takes over at a time when Pakistan faces a serious economic challenge and its relations with key global players are under strain.
The recent New York Times editorial, Is Pakistan Worth America’s Investment?, perpetuates the idea that the United States can use its economic assistance to Pakistan as a cudgel to extract better performance from the government in its fight against terrorism. There are two problems with that idea.
Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in Islamabad for a Ministerial meeting of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, the second such meeting since the countries resumed the dialogue in 2013. Much of the (admittedly limited) coverage around this meeting has centered on the security conversation: how can the United States and Pakistan counter militant groups within Pakistan and along the Pakistani-Afghan border?
According to current estimates, some 10,000 people have been killed in the Philippines by super-typhoon Haiyan, 620,000 displaced, and over 9 million affected. Emergency relief and reconstruction assistance will be required on a large scale and for an extended period – perhaps more frequently in future years as climate change leads to an increase in extreme weather events.
The Atlantic Council’s recent event on US foreign assistance to Pakistan kicked off a new round of discussion about US-Pakistan relations, which should gain momentum as we approach the Strategic Dialogue expected later this year. Anchored in the context of the country’s recent elections and prospects for regional stability, the discussion included remarks b
Tomorrow (September 10th), my colleague Nancy Birdsall and I will attend an event about “Pakistan Elections and Regional Stability: How Foreign Assistance Can Help”. There are two keynote speakers and Nancy will be speaking on the panel, which should generate a great discussion about Pakistan’s recent civilian election, US interests in the country, and the significant flows of foreign assistance the US government has authorized for economic and military assistance. We hope it sparks renewed interest in formalizing a strategic dialogue on development, a focused discussion about how the United States and Pakistan can best work together to address Pakistan’s daunting development challenges.
Last weekend marked the first time in Pakistan's 60-plus year history that a democratically elected government completed its term. This is a major achievement for Pakistan. It also raises the possibility of a new chapter in US-Pakistan relations because a new civilian government led by the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, the winning party) might prove to be surprisingly open to US help in addressing Pakistan's huge development challenges.
At a recent CGD roundtable, water expert John Briscoe gave a whistle-stop tour of Pakistan’s water economy. In a conversation framed by comments about Pakistan’s history of resilience and ingenuity, he laid out the compelling facts about Pakistan’s dire situation:
“No superpower that claims to possess the moral high ground can afford to relinquish its leadership in addressing global disease, hunger, and ignorance,” said former US senator Richard Lugar. “Our moral identity is an essential source of national power… We diminish ourselves and our national reputation if we turn our backs on the obvious plight of hundreds of millions of people who are living on less than a dollar a day and facing severe risk from hunger and disease.”