Ahsan for collective efforts to boost economies in region

Sep 04, 2013| Courtesy by : Associated Press of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Sep 2 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal Monday said that common challenges call for a renewed resolve of SAARC member states to get their economies in order and collectively address regional issues. Delivering a keynote address at the inaugural session of the 6th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES) in Colombo, Ahsan Iqbal said that Summit has great potential for bridging policy research gaps in the region.

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The three day long Summit is organized by Sri Lanka’s economic policy think tank, the Institute of Policy Studies, under the theme of ‘Towards a Stronger, Dynamic and Inclusive South Asia’ 2013.
The minister said, “today we stand at a point where South Asia collectively was looking for ways to revive and sustain economic growth, in a manner that was inclusive, sustainable and has the potential to remove inter country and intra country economic disparities.”
“It is very welcoming to take note of the key areas being covered in this Summit, he added.
As a region, South Asia was able to buffer the immediate shocks of the global financial crises and became one of the fastest growing regions over the last one decade, Ahsan added.
He said however, the social impact of these growth trends, particularly in terms of development indicators such as poverty headcount, income inequality, food insecurity, climate risk reduction, and female labour force participation, among others remains questionable.
The minister further said, “let us acknowledge that we are in a constant struggle in prioritizing between urgent and important issues facing the region.”
However, the minister said at regional level too, there were certain urgent and pressing development challenges that South Asia was facing today.
“It is important for us to give quality time and attention in deciding on the potential measures from the existing and emerging development discourse to address these challenges,” Ahsan pointed out.
The Minister further said that South Asia as a whole continues to be vulnerable to adverse climate change effects that increases sea level, erode cultivable land, suppress returns for farmers and exacerbate food insecurities in the region.
The SAES, inaugurated in 2008 in Colombo, is a premier platform to debate and discuss the socio-economic challenges faced by South Asia, currently one of the fastest growing regions in the world.
This year’s summit has brought together over 120 renowned socio-economic experts to debate and discuss, pressing concern of sustainable and inclusive growth in the region.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)