Pakistan’s Untold Story: Record-Breaking, High-Growth Companies
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Living in the United States, we take for granted the environment our free enterprise system offers. We know that an idea, work ethic, and a little bit of luck can be enough to launch a dream, create jobs, and spur growth in the economy.
While these prevailing truths are readily apparent in the American economy spurred by household names like Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric, it is not so readily apparent in a place like Pakistan which faces stiff head winds as it tries to develop its economy. This is a country that faces great challenges both politically and economically. Just today, a press report indicates continued political gridlock in Pakistan. However, there’s reason to be positive. Because of the growing belief, among government, the private sector, and the think-tank community, that liberalizing trade will foster growth, investment, and improved competitiveness, the American business community remains optimistic about the opportunities for greater engagement in the future.
The U.S. Chamber and the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) met with a delegation of Pakistani entrepreneurs who, not unlike Mark Zuckerburg or Steve Jobs, have a dream and a drive to develop their ideas into businesses. The group, the Pakistan Fast Growth 100, a program of AllWorld Network, was launched earlier this year. Members of this delegation represent companies that reach AllWorld’s international standard for competitive fast growth, and from 2008-2010, these companies grew at an average of 55% a year and collectively employ 41,000 people in Pakistan – and some high-value jobs in the U.S.
As noted by Anne Habiby, co-CEO and co-founder of AllWorld Network, it is impressive that in the midst of challenging political and economic circumstances, the Pakistan 100 broke many AllWorld records in relation to 15 other country rankings in the region. The challenge is the word "Pakistan" and how to make it an enabling brand, she added. Many of the entrepreneurs told their stories and their insights on the emerging growth opportunities in Pakistan but expressed frustration with the “visibility deficit” and getting the media to focus beyond political issues.
As U.S. companies eye foreign markets and seek outlets for their products and services, Pakistan stands ready as a willing and able partner. The U.S. Chamber and USPBC look forward to a continuing dialog regarding the emerging growth opportunities in the country and increasing U.S. private sector engagement in Pakistan.