Monday, June 19, 2017

PSL's Role in Pakistan's Meteoric Rise to ICC Championship 2017

Pakistan's national cricket team scored a historic win in Champions Trophy 2017 final against defending champions India on June 18th by the highest-ever margin of 180 runs in any ICC international tournament final. New players emerging from Pakistan Super League and the return of players like Mohammad Amir significantly strengthened the bottom-ranked Pakistan side to beat much higher-ranked teams, including India.

Pakistan Team Celebrating Champions Trophy 2017 Victory


Pakistan Team's Defiance:

The Pakistan team that barely made the cut to play in Champions Trophy as the 8th ranked team lost its very first match against arch-rival India by 124 runs in group B on June 4, 2017. Subsequently,  the team to went on to defeat top ranked South Africa, 4th ranked England and 7th ranked Sri Lanka to reach the trophy's final match against India.

Often described as "predictably unpredictable",  Pakistan XI bounced back strongly after being written off by most commentators and pundits. They demonstrated the resilience that also characterizes the people and the state of Pakistan both of which are often given the "failed" tag by Indian and western media.

Success Factors: 

There are many factors that are believed to have contributed to Pakistan's spectacular rise to the world champion status in international cricket. The team captain Sarfaraz Ahmad is not only a good leader but also a very good batsman-wicket keeper who keeps his cool under pressure. The return of aggressive paceman Mohammad Amir to the team after a long suspension for match-fixing has bolstered Pakistan's bowling attack. But, most of all, I believe it is the discovery and grooming of new talent in Pakistan Super League.

Pakistan Super League:

Pakistan Super League (PSL) is a T20 cricket league with 6 franchise teams-- one each in the cities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Multan. Multan franchise was just recently sold by PSL to the Schon Group for $41.6 million over 8 years. PSL generates millions of dollars in PCB income that helps promote cricket in the country. It also exposes new talent that would otherwise remain hidden.

Several youngsters in Pakistan side who shined in the recent Champions Trophy matches were selected after they played and performed well in PSL 2, the league's second season earlier this year. For example Fakhar Zaman (Lahore Qalandars), Hassan Ali (Peshawar Zalmi), Shadab Khan (Islamabad United),  Rumman Raees (Islamabad United).

Opener Fakhar Zaman gave Pakistan the rapid start it needed with the runs that built the foundation for other batsmen down the line to capitalize on; Mohammad Amir struck early with quick top order wickets and then Hassan Ali and Shadab Khan kept up the pressure with their aggressive bowling. These youngsters also energized the rest of the team, particularly the more senior low-performing players, to do better.

Credit to Najam Sethi:

PSL chairman Najam Sethi has played a crucial role in setting up the PSL that is giving young talent an opportunity to play with the best of international players and be discovered.  It's a platform that highlights Pakistan's young talent that can simply not be ignored by the Pakistan national team selectors.

Sethi can also be credited with bringing Mohammad Amir back into Pakistan team in the face of significant opposition by senior players, both former and current.

Summary:

New players emerging from PSL and the return of players like Mohammad Amir have significantly strengthened Pakistan side as witnessed by their historic win against higher-ranked teams, including India, in Champions Trophy 2017 held in the United Kingdom. PSL is also generating the needed revenue to promote cricket at the grassroots level. PSL, if used properly, can help Pakistan become a more powerful professional side using the best available talent in the country.

Related Links:












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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dozen British Pakistanis Elected to UK Parliament in Elections 2017

Twelve British Pakistanis, including 5 women, have been elected members of parliament (MPs) in recent elections held in the United Kingdom, according to media reports.  Seven of them are members of the Labor Party and three belong to the Conservative Party. This sets a new record with the increase of two MPs from the May 2012 elections that resulted in the election of 10 MPs of Pakistani origin. British Pakistanis make up 1.8% of the British population, about the same as their representation in the House of Commons.

Six of the Twelve British-Pakistani MPs
British Pakistani MPs and Peers:

In addition to the 12 British Pakistanis in the House of Commons, there are 8 members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, bringing the total strength of British Pakistanis in the UK parliament to 20. Most of them are from very humble backgrounds in rural Pakistan. Majority of Pakistanis in the UK are from Mirpur and its surrounding villages in Azad Kashmir. They or their parents migrated to Britain when they were given compensation by Pakistani government for their land to make way for the building of the massive Mangla Dam after the signing of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan in 1960. Five of the twelve British Pakistani MPs in the new parliament are from Azad Kashmir.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan:

Last year saw the election of Sadiq Khan as mayor of London, making him the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital city. Mayor Sadiq Khan is also of Pakistani-origin. Khan's father migrated to Britain in 1960s and worked as a London bus driver. Khan comes from a family of two generations of immigrants: His grandparents migrated from what is now India to the newly created state of Pakistan in 1947 and his parents migrated from Karachi to London in 1969. Sadiq Khan was born in London in 1970.

British Pakistanis' Struggles:

While the British Pakistanis have made some headway in the public sector in their new home, they continue to face discrimination, particularly in the private sector.  A 2016 study by the government’s Social Mobility Commission found that the "children of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin in Britain have outperformed other ethnic groups to achieve rapid improvements at every level of education, but are significantly less likely to be employed in managerial or professional jobs than their white counterparts".

The study said that the "minority ethnic pupils (including Pakistanis) are outperforming white working class children in English tests throughout school, with white British teenagers coming bottom of the pile in the subject at GCSE level".



British Pakistani Doctors: 

Pakistan is the second largest source of doctors of foreign origin serving in the United Kingdom, according to OECD. Indians make up 34% of the foreign doctors in Britain, followed by 11% from Pakistan.

Summary:

British Pakistanis have achieved significant success in spite of their humble origins and discrimination they face in their adopted home. 12 of them serve as members of the House of Commons and 8 in the House of Lords. Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, the first Muslim leader of a major western capital, is the son of a London bus driver who migrated from Pakistan. British Pakistani children are outperforming their white working class peers in schools. British Pakistani doctors are the second largest population of doctors of foreign origin in the United Kingdom.  The British Pakistanis are among the best of the Pakistani diaspora, or any diaspora, in the world.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani Diaspora

British Pakistanis

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

British Pakistani Singer Zayn

Pakistan 3rd Largest Source of Foreign Doctors in America

Pakistanis Make Up Largest Foreign-Born Muslim Group in Silicon Valley

Pakistanis in Silicon Valley

Massive Show of Support for Silicon Valley Muslims After Trump Ban

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Trump's Paris Accord Pullout; India's Slowing Economy; Kabul Blast; Panama JIT

Why did President Trump pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Deal? How will this impact the United States and the world? Can US still lead on matters related to energy? Will China and Europe pick up the mantle of world leadership on climate change and clean energy? Will US growing isolation cost American jobs?

Why has India's GDP growth slowed to 6.1% in Jan-March 2017 from 7.1% earlier? Is it the result of demonetization? Why has bank credit growth declined to just 5%, the slowest in 60 years? Is the growth in non-performing loans taking a toll on new lending by ailing public sector banks? How will it affect job growth in India?

Who is responsible for the massive Kabul blast that caused tragic loss of 100 lives? Did the Haqqanis do it? Why is the Afghan intelligence blaming it on Pakistan? How will the United States deal with the deteriorating situation after 16 years of war in Afghanistan? Will the Taliban accept talking with the Afghan and US representatives?

Does PMLN Senator Nihal Hashmi's scathing attack on judiciary and bureaucracy reflect the inner thinking within the Sharif family and the PMLN leadership? Is it an attempt to intimidate the judges and the bureaucrats involved investigating corruption allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members? Are they having a hard time dealing with accountability as never seen before by a ruling party in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/jMkseal7jgg





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump's Policies

Pakistan's Response to Climate Change

Is Modi Fudging Indian GDP Figures? 

India's Demonetization Disaster

Gen Petraeus on Pakistan's Support of Haqqanis

Panama Leaks Corruption Scandal

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ramzan; Pakistan Economic Survey; Indian IT Job Losses; Trump's Foreign Tour

What is Ramadan all about? Is it only about abstaining from food and drink in the daylight hours? What is the key message for this Ramzan? Isn't respecting Huqooq-ul-Ibad (human rights of others) as important as observing Huqooq-ul-Allah (Duties to Allah such as prayer and fasting) for each Muslim? What must Muslims do this Ramzan to fulfill all of their obligations to Allah and His creation?

What does the Economic Survey of Pakistan say about Pakistan's GDP, per capita income, infrastructure development, education and other important indicators? What must Pakistani leaders do to ensure greater focus on and investment in education and not just in infrastructure? What is the size of and the key priorities in Pakistan's budget for 2017-18? Should some of the $20 billion (out of the $50 billion budget) for infrastructure be allocated to education to boost Pakistan's stagnant literacy and school enrollment rates?



Why is India losing IT jobs at a rate of 200,000 jobs a year, according to McKinsey? Is it all because of Trump's H1B visa tightening? Or does it have more to do with the need for new skills to deal with new technologies such as cloud computing and digital services?

What was the objective of Trump's tour of the Middle East and Europe? Has he achieved any of the objectives? Was Nawaz Sharif's low-key presence at the Riyadh summit appropriate? Are Nawaz Sharif's critics right? Should he have had a more prominent role at the US-Arab-Islamic summit? How would that impact Iran-Pakistan ties?


Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/ojEvEICkimA




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Riaz Haq's Ramadan Sermon

Pakistan's Lagging Literacy and School Enrollment Rates

Impact of Trump's H1B Visa Crackdown

Impact of Trump's Appointments on US Policy

Iran-Saudi Conflict

Talk4Pak Youtube Channel



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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Afiniti and Careem: Tech Unicorns Made in Pakistan

Afiniti and Careem are two technology unicorns engineered in Pakistan by Pakistanis. AI (artificial intelligence) startup Afiniti software has largely been engineered in Lahore while taxi hailing service Careem's technology has mostly been developed in Karachi. Here's more about these unicorns:

Careem:

Careem is a taxi hailing app that is giving its American competitor Uber a run for its money in a region stretching from Pakistan to the Middle East and North Africa. The company cofounded by Mudassir Sheika, a Pakistani national, is headquartered in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Careem's last round  was valued at over a billion dollars when it raised $350 million from Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) at the end of 2016, according to Tech Crunch.

Careem's software has been developed by its technology partner VentureDive based in Karachi, Pakistan.  VentureDive was started by serial Pakistani entrepreneur Atif Azim who sold his earlier startup Perfigo to network equipment giant Cisco for $74 million in 2004, according to a report in Tech in Asia.

Atif launched VentureDive in 2011 and  took a small equity stake in Careem in exchange for building its entire tech stack – including the app, the website, and other digital platforms. That small stake has now grown to $50 million.

In 2016, Careem acquired VentureDive's engineering team working on its technology to give the engineers more ownership of the product – now they are getting equity stake in Careem and larger bonuses.

Afiniti Development Team in Lahore, Pakistan. Source: Afiniti.com


Afiniti:

Washington D.C. based AI technology firm Afiniti, founded by serial Pakistani-American entrepreneur Zia Chishti, has filed for initial public offering (IPO) at $1.6 billion valuation, according to VentureBeat. The company has grown out of the technology used in the Pakistan-based call center business of The Resource Group (TRG) also founded by Zia Chishti.

Bulk of the Afiniti development team is located in Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore. In addition, the company has development team members in Islamabad and Karachi.

Chishti founded his first company Align Technology in 1997 in Silicon Valley. It creates clear plastic braces for straightening teeth by using advanced 3-D computer imaging. The technology now trademarked as Invisalign has helped millions of people straighten their teeth for a beautiful smile without enduring the pain and unsightly looks of the traditional steel brackets and wires used in orthodontics. Align Technology is now valued at $10 billion.

Afiniti uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to enable real-time, optimized pairing of individual call center agents with individual customers in large enterprises for best results. When a customer contacts a call center, Afiniti matches his or her phone number with any information related to it from up to 100 databases, according to VentureBeat. These databases carry purchase history, income, credit history, social media profiles and other demographic information. Based on this information, Afiniti routes the call directly to an agent who has been determined, based on their own history, to be most effective in closing deals with customers who have similar characteristics.

Summary:

Pakistan is an emerging center of technology with at least two unicorns, Afiniti and Careem, engineered by Pakistanis in Pakistan.  With growing numbers of young homegrown Pakistani technologists, a highly skilled diaspora and an evolving startup ecosystem with incubators, accelerators and investors, the country is beginning to demonstrate its vast potential as a vibrant technology hub of the future. Provincial governments, particularly those in Punjab and KP, are showing leadership in encouraging this trend. The main ingredients are all coming together to make things happen in Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

Pakistani-American's Tech Unicorn Files For IPO at $1.6 Billion Valuation

Pakistani-American Cofounders Sell Startup to Cisco for $610 million

Pakistani Brothers Spawned $20 Billion Security Software Industry

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fireeye Goes Public

Pakistani-American Pioneered 3D Technology in Orthodontics

Pakistani-Americans Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Pakistani-American Shahid Khan Richest South Asian in America

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 



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Monday, May 22, 2017

Campaign of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) About CPEC

An unrelenting campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been unleashed in the media in recent weeks. This strategy harkens back to the aggressive marketing techniques used by the American computer giant IBM in the 1970s to fight competition.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD):

A definition of FUD that captures its essence is offered by Roger Irwin as follows: "Unable to respond with hard facts, scare-mongering is used via 'gossip channels' to cast a shadow of doubt over the competitors offerings and make people think twice before using it".

A number of articles in western and Indian media have attempted to use FUD against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Some Pakistani journalists and commentators, some unwittingly, have also joined in the campaign.   As expected, these detractors ignore volumes of data and evidence that clearly contradict their claims.

Part of the motivation of those engaged in FUD against CPEC appears to be to check China's rise and Pakistan's rise with its friend and neighbor to the north. Their aim is to preserve and protect the current world order created by the Western Powers led by the United States at the end of the second world war.

Growing Infrastructure Gap:

Development of infrastructure is essential for economic and social development of a country such as Pakistan. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor financing needs to be seen in the context of the large and growing infrastructure gap in Asia that threatens social and economic progress.

 Rich countries generally raise funds for infrastructure projects by selling bonds while most developing countries rely on loans from international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to finance infrastructure projects.

The infrastructure financing needs of the developing countries far exceed the capacity of the World Bank and the regional development banks such as ADB to fund such projects. A recent report by the Asian Development Bank warned that there is currently $1.7 trillion infrastructure gap that threatens growth in Asia. The 45 countries surveyed in the ADB report, which covers 2016-2030, are forecast to need investment of $26 trillion over 15 years to maintain growth, cut poverty and deal with climate change.



Chinese CPEC Loans to Pakistan:

About 80% of the $55 billion of the Chinese money for CPEC is private investment while the rest is composed of soft loans to the government, according to Shanghai Business Review.

The Chinese soft loans for CPEC infrastructure projects carry an interest rate of just 1.6%, far lower than similar loans offered by the World Bank at rates of 3.8% or higher.

Chinese companies investing in Pakistan are getting loans from China's ExIm Bank at concessional rates and from China Development Bank at commercial rates. These loans will be repaid by the Chinese companies from their income from these investments, not by Pakistani taxpayers.

Rising Confidence in Pakistan:

Pakistani economy is already beginning to reap the benefits of the current and expected investments as seen in the 5.2% GDP growth in the current fiscal year, the highest in 9 years.

The World Bank's Pakistan Development Update of May 2017 says that "Pakistan’s economy continues to grow strongly, emerging as one of the top performers in South Asia".

Rapidly expanding middle class and rising demand for consumer durables like vehicles and home appliances attest to the positive impact of CPEC. Consumer confidence in Pakistan has reached its highest level since 2008, according to Nielsen.

US-based consulting firm Deloitte and Touche estimates that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects will create some 700,000 direct jobs during the period 2015–2030 and raise its GDP growth rate to 7.5%,  adding 2.5 percentage points to the country's current GDP growth rate of 5%.

Countering FUD:

Pakistani government should respond to the FUD campaign against CPEC by countering it with facts and data and increasing transparency in how CPEC projects are being financed, contracted and managed. It is particularly important in a low-trust society like Pakistan's where people can be easily persuaded to believe the worst about their leaders and institutions. 

Summary:

An unrelenting campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been unleashed in the media in recent weeks. This strategy harkens back to the aggressive marketing techniques used by the American computer giant IBM in the 1970s to fight competition. Part of the motivation of those engaged in FUD against CPEC appears to be to check China's rise and Pakistan's rise with its friend and neighbor to the north. Their aim is to preserve and protect the current world order created by the Western Powers led by the United States at the end of the second world war.   Pakistani government should respond to the FUD campaign against CPEC by countering it with facts and data and increasing transparency in how CPEC projects are being financed, contracted and managed. 

Related Links:










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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pakistan Consumer Boom Driving Media Advertising Revenue

Rising buying power of rapidly expanding middle class in Pakistan drove the nation's media advertising revenue up 14% to a record Rs. 76.2 billion ($727 million), making the country's media market among the world's fastest growing for FY 2015-16. Half of this ad spending (Rs. 38 billion or $362 million) went to television channels while the rest was divided among print, outdoor, radio and digital media.

Media Ad Revenue by platform. Source: Aurora











Digital media spending rose 27% in 2015-16 over prior year, the fastest of all the media platforms. It was followed by 20% increase in radio, 13% in television, 12% in print and 6% in outdoor advertising, according to data published by Aurora media market research

HUM TV channel had the highest revenue at Rs. 3.84 billion, followed by ARY Digital's Rs. 3.802 billion, PTV Sports Rs. 3 billion, Geo Entertainment Rs. 2.93 billion, Geo News Rs. 2.6 billion, Urdu1 2.5 billion, PTV Home Rs. 2.5 billion, Samaa Rs. 1.9 billion, and Dunya News, ARY News and Express News Rs. 1.8 billion each.

The television channels with the highest revenue increases in 2015-16 were: Samaa (88%), Geo News (82%), Geo Entertainment (81%) and ARY News (76%).

Global Advertising Growth 2016. Source: Magna



The current media boom in Pakistan started in early 2000s when Pakistan had just one television channel, according to the UK's Prospect Magazine. Today it has over 100. Together they have begun to open up a country long shrouded by political, moral and religious censorship—taking on the government, breaking social taboos and, most recently, pushing a new national consensus against the Taliban. The birth of privately owned commercial media has been enabled by the Musharraf-era deregulation, and funded by the tremendous growth in revenue from advertising targeted at the burgeoning urban middle class consumers.

Pakistan has managed to significantly reduce poverty and rapidly grow its middle class since 2001 in spite of major political, security and economic challenges. The foundation for the rise of the middle class and the electronic media boom was laid on President Musharraf's watch by his government's decisions to invest in education and infrastructure projects and deregulate the media that led to the expansion of both human and financial capital. My hope is that the continued improvement in security situation and implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects will bring in higher long-term investments and accelerate Pakistan's progress toward prosperity for all of its citizens.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016

Pakistan: A Majority Middle Class Country

Pakistan Mass Media Boom

State Bank: Pakistan's Actual GDP Higher Than Officially Reported

College Enrollment in Pakistan

Musharraf Accelerated Development of Pakistan's Human and Financial Capital

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pakistan to Build Massive Dams for Abundant Water and Power

China and Pakistan have agreed to finance and build two mega dams in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for this development was signed by the leaders of the two countries on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in Beijing.

Actual vs Potential Hydropower in South Asia. Source: Economist Magazine


The two dams, called Bunji and Diamer-Bhasha projects, will have the capacity to generate 7,100MW and 4,500MW of electricity respectively. China will provide $27 billion to fund the construction of the two dams, according to media reports.

Pakistan's Hydropower Potential: 

Pakistan has the potential to generate 59,000MW of hydropower, according to studies conducted by the nation's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). Currently, it's generating only 6,600MW of hydroelectric power, about 11% of the estimated potential. Media reports indicate that China is prepared to finance and build another 40,000MW capacity as part of the development of the Northern Indus Cascade region which begins in Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through to Tarbela, the site of Pakistan’s biggest dam, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Diamer-Bhasha Water Storage:

Diamer-Bhasha project is located on Indus River, about 200 miles upstream from the existing Tarbela Dam, 100 miles downstream from the Northern Area capital Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan region.  It will generate 4,500 MW of electricity and its reservoir will hold so much water that it could have averted recent devastating floods that affected large parts of Pakistan. It would also provide enough electricity to end  Pakistan's crippling shortages, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.  The Diamer-Bhasha reservoir would be 50 miles long, holding 8.5 MAF (million acre feet) of water.

Response to Climate Change:

Pakistan has made only a small contribution to climate change through carbon emissions.  And yet, it counts among the dozen or so nations considered most vulnerable to its damaging effects. These include rising temperatures, recurring cycles of floods and droughts and resulting disruption in food production.

One of the ways Pakistan can help reduce carbon emissions is by realizing its full hydroelectric potential by building more dams. The development of the Northern Indus Cascade region to generate 40,000MW of hydropower is a significant part of this effort.

Prerequisite for Economic Development: 

Availability of abundant and cheap electricity has historically preceded rapid economic development in America, Europe and East Asia. Pakistan has an opportunity to meet this prerequisite by generating large amounts of clean renewable hydropower to meet its hunger for energy required for rapid economic growth in all sectors of the economy ranging from agriculture to manufacturing and services.

Summary:

Pakistan is endowed with significant amount of water and power resources that can be harnessed to enable rapid economic growth in all sectors of its economy. It appears that the Chinese investment, as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is now putting this goal within reach. Tens of thousands of megawatts of added electricity and millions of acre feet of additional water will hopefully transform Pakistan's economy and bring prosperity to its people.

Here's a video on the subject:

https://youtu.be/y-VkLn2J6fM



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Recurring Cycles of Drought and Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan's Response to Climate Change

Renewable Energy for Pakistan

LNG Imports in Pakistan

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ownership of Appliances and Vehicles in Pakistan


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Thursday, May 11, 2017

China Emerges as the Top Destination For Pakistanis Studying Abroad

China has emerged as the top destination for Pakistani students studying abroad with 19,000 of them in China this year. This figure is more than 3 times the 6,141 Pakistani students currently enrolled in the US universities, according to data available from reliable sources.



Foreign Students in China: 

China is hosting over 440,000 foreign students in 2017, up 35% from 2012. No other Asian country has as many foreign students as China does today, according to Shanghiist.

The countries sending the largest number of students to China are South Korea, the United States and Thailand, followed by Pakistan, India, Russia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Japan and Vietnam, according to data from China's Ministry of Education as reported by Chinese media.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): 

The number of students from countries involved in China's One Belt, One Road  (OBOR) initiative, also known as The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road that includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has significantly increased. In 2016, students from the 64 countries in the initiative saw 200,000 students coming to China to study, representing an increase of 13.6% compared with one year before.

British Education in Joint Degree Programs Outside UK. Source: UKCISA

British Education in Pakistan: 

Even after the dramatic increase of Pakistani students going to China, the United Kingdom still remains the top source of international education for Pakistanis.  46,640 students, the largest number of Pakistani students receiving international education anywhere, are doing so at Pakistani universities in joint degree programs established with British universities, according to UK Council for International Student Affairs.

The number of students enrolled in British-Pakistani joint degree programs in Pakistan (46,640) makes it the fourth largest effort behind Malaysia (78,850), China (64,560) and Singapore (49,970).

China's Soft Power: 

China is now taking a page from the successful playbook of the Americans and the British to project their soft power through education. The Chinese government is making significant investment in scholarships and facilities to foster a greater understanding of the Chinese culture and language globally, and expand Beijing's soft power.

Summary: 

China has emerged as the top destination for Pakistani students studying abroad with 19,000 of them in China this year. This figure is more than 3 times the 6,141 Pakistani students currently enrolled in the US universities. Chinese government is investing in scholarships and facilities to entice foreign students, particularly those from countries such as Pakistan that are part of China's Silk Road initiative, in an effort to project its soft power.

Related Links:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan College and University Enrollment Rates

Educational Attainment Dataset By Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee

Pakistani Students Win First Place in Stanford Design Contest

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence

Pakistan Ahead of BRICs in Highly Cited Papers

Scholarships at Foreign Universities

Institute of International Education--Open Doors

UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency Report

Austrade on Education in Pakistan

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ownership Rates of Durable Goods in India and Pakistan

Ownership of consumer durables like computers, home appliances and vehicles is often seen as an important indicator of the size and health of the middle classes in emerging economies. Examples of periodic household surveys used by researchers to measure such data include NSS (National Sampling Survey) in India and PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) in Pakistan.

Durables Ownership in India and Pakistan. Source: KSBL


India-Pakistan Comparison:

Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, a professor at Karachi School of Business Leadership, has recently analyzed household surveys in India and Pakistan to discover the following:

1.  As of 2015, car ownership in both India and Pakistan is about the same at 6% of households owning a car. However, 41% of Pakistani household own motorcycles, several points higher than India's 32%.

2. 12% of Pakistani households own a computer, slightly higher than 11% in India.

3. Higher percentage of Pakistani households own appliances such as refrigerators (Pakistan 47%, India 33%), washing machines (Pakistan 48%, India 15%) and fans (Pakistan 91%, India 83%).

4. 71% of Indian households own televisions versus 62% in Pakistan.

Durables Ownership Growth in Pakistan. Source: KSBL
Growth over Time:

Dr. Abdul Ghani has also analyzed household data to show that the percentage of Pakistani households owning washing machines has doubled while car and refrigerator ownership has tripled and motorcycle ownership jumped 6-fold from 2001 to 2014.

Income/Consumption Growth in Pakistan. Source: KSBL

Rapid Income Growth:

Rising ownership of durables in Pakistan has been driven by significant reduction in poverty and growth of household incomes, according to Dr. Abdul Ghani's research. Percentage of households with per capita income of under $2 per day per person has plummeted from 57% in 2001 to 7% in 2014. At the same time, the percentage of households earning $2 to $10 per day per person has soared from 42% of households in 2001 to 87% of households in 2014.  The percentage of those earning over $10 per day per person has jumped 7-fold from 1% of households in 2001 to 7% of households in 2014.

Pakistani Middle Class:

Only 5% of Pakistanis in $2-$4 per day per person income group have college degrees. But 20% of those in $4-$10 have college degrees, according to the survey results.

Pakistan Middle Class Profile. Source: KSBL

Credit Suisse Income and Wealth Data:

Average Pakistani adult is 20% richer than an average Indian adult and the median wealth of a Pakistani adult is 120% higher than that of his or her Indian counterpart, according to Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016. Average household wealth in Pakistan has grown 2.1% while it has declined 0.8% in India since the end of last year.

Median wealth data indicates that 50% of Pakistanis own more than $1,180 per adult which is 120% more than the $608 per adult owned by 50% of Indians.

GDP Estimates Using Household Survey Data:

Pakistan's GDP calculated from consumption data in PSLM is significantly higher than the government estimates based on production data. The reverse is true of Indian GDP.

M. Ali Kemal and Ahmed Waqar Qasim, economists at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE),  explored several published different approaches for sizing Pakistan's underground economy and settled on a combination of  PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement) consumption data  and mis-invoicing of exports and imports to conclude that the country's "informal economy was 91% of the formal economy in 2007-08". 

Prominent Indian economists Abhijit V Banerjee, Pranab Bardhan, Rohini Somanathan and TN Srinivasan teaching at MIT, UC Berkeley, Yale University and Delhi School of Economics believe that India's GDP estimate based on household survey (National Sampling Service or NSS) data is about half of what the Indian government officially reports as India's GDP. 

Here's a quote from French economist Thomas Piketty's book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" explaining his skepticism of production-based official GDP figures of India and China:

"Note, too, that the very high official growth figures for developing countries (especially India and China) over the past few decades are based almost exclusively on production statistics. If one tries to measure income growth by using household survey data, it is often quite difficult to identify the reported rates of macroeconomic growth: Indian and Chinese incomes are certainly increasing rapidly, but not as rapidly as one would infer from official growth statistics. This paradox-sometimes referred to as the "black hole" of growth-is obviously problematic. It may be due to the overestimation of the growth of output (there are many bureaucratic incentives for doing so), or perhaps the underestimation of income growth (household have their own flaws)), or most likely both. In particular, the missing income may be explained by the possibility that a disproportionate share of the growth in output has gone to the most highly remunerated individuals, whose incomes are not always captured in the tax data." 

Who is Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani?

The PSLM household data cited in this blog post is taken from a recent presentation made by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani at the Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL) where he teaches. KSBL has been established in collaboration with  Cambridge University's Judge Business School. Prior to his current faculty position, Dr. Abdul Ghani taught at MIT's Sloane School of Management and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He has a computer science degree from MIT and an MBA from Wharton Business School.

Summary:

Pakistan has managed to significantly reduce poverty and rapidly grow its middle class since 2001 in spite of major political, security and economic challenges. The foundation for the rise of the middle class was laid on President Musharraf's watch by his government's decisions to invest in education and infrastructure projects that led to the expansion of both human and financial capital. My hope is that the continued improvement in security situation and implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects will bring in higher long-term investments and accelerate Pakistan's progress toward prosperity for all of its citizens.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2016

Pakistan: A Majority Middle Class Country

Karachi School of Business and Leadership

State Bank: Pakistan's Actual GDP Higher Than Officially Reported

College Enrollment in Pakistan

Musharraf Accelerated Development of Pakistan's Human and Financial Capital

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pakistan Cricket Board's $43 Million Revenue and Budget

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spends about $43 million on national and international cricket every year, according to media reports. It receives about $16.5 million a year share from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as part of the new revenue sharing model while the rest comes from Pakistan Super League (PSL) and multiple bilateral cricket series with other ICC member nations. PCB could earn significantly more if India, with its huge media market, agrees to honor its prior commitments to play bilateral series with Pakistan. PCB has threatened to sue BCCI  to recover $200 million in lost revenue since 2007.

ICC Revenue Sharing:

Under a new deal announced by the International Cricket Club (ICC) after its recent board meeting in Dubai, Pakistan's PCB will receive $132 million from 2015 through 2023. India's BCCI will receive $293 million across the eight-year cycle, the ECB $143 million, Zimbabwe Cricket $94 million and the remaining seven Full Members $132 million each. Associate Members will receive total combined funding of $280 million, according to ESPN sports network.

Source: ESPN


The new, more equitable revenue sharing model will replace the "Big Three" financial model drawn up by the boards of India, England and Australia that allocated much larger revenue share to them.

As expected India is not happy with the reduction in its share of the ICC revenue to $ 293 million. While the new distribution model is not a complete rollback to the equal funding from ICC events that Full Members like Pakistan used to receive, it is considerably lower than the $440 million the BCCI stood to earn under the Big Three model. The associate members of ICC would be the biggest losers if the BCCI demand for $440 million was accepted.

India-Pakistan Series:

India, with its massive media market, generates significantly more revenue that any other national cricket team and it has not played a full bilateral series with Pakistan since 2007. PCB had signed an MoU with the BCCI officials in 2014 on the sidelines of an ICC meeting. Under the MoU, Pakistan and India were to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023 but India so far has refused to honor its commitment saying that the Modi government has not given it permission for bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan.

The BCCI has refused even to play Pakistan on neutral venues including Sri Lanka. PCB claims it has lost nearly $200 million because of India's failure to deliver. BCCI has also rejected ICC chief Shashank Manohar's offer of additional $100 million to Pakistan to cover its losses, according to India Today.  PCB is now threatening to sue BCCI to recover its losses.

Pakistan Super League: 

Pakistan Super League has become a significant source of revenue for PCB since its launch in 2016. The auction of the teams in 2016 generated $18.6 million for PCB in 2016, according to media reports.  This year, PCB earned a profit of $2.6 million net after all the expenses of PSL's second season.

PCB Plans: 

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said PCB plans to use the money for new cricket academies across the nation and to set up cricket programs at schools and universities and to sponsor cricket clubs.  In addition, sports facilities like cricket pitches and grounds will be improved across the country.

Summary:

Pakistan Cricket Board seems to be achieving self-sufficiency and the wherewithal to fund the sport of cricket in Pakistan better than ever before. In addition to the money from the ICC revenue sharing, PCB is also getting a new revenue stream from the PSL to help meet its needs. It's important that the PCB follows through on its plans to support cricket programs at schools and universities and cricket clubs, and to improve sports facilities in the country.


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Monday, May 1, 2017

Pakistani-American Co-Founders Sell Tech Startup Viptela to Cisco For $610 million

Cisco is paying $610 million to acquire Viptela, a software-defined-networks (SDN) start-up in Silicon Valley that was co-founded in 2012 by Pakistani-American entrepreneurs Amir Khan, Atif Khan and Khalid Raza.

Software defined network (SDN) technology allows network managers to configure, manage, secure, and optimize network resources quickly as needed via dynamic, automated SDN programs.

L to R Back: Venu Hemige, Khalid Raza Front: Atif Khan, Amir Khan, Ramesh Prabagaran Courtesy: Sequoia Capital

"Together, Cisco and Viptela will be able to deliver next-generation SD-WAN solutions to best serve all size and scale of customer needs, while accelerating Cisco's transition to a recurring, software-based business model," said Rob Salvagno,  Cisco's executive in charge of mergers and acquisitions.

Viptela's software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) technologies are enabling small and large companies tackle the ongoing transition from traditional client-server model to cloud computing efficiently and effectively.

Viptela was founded by 5 co-founders, three Pakistanis and two Indians,  in 2012 and had raised more than $108 million, including its most recent $75 million round just last May. The $610 million sale price offers a pretty good return for investors.

Prior to starting Viptela, the founders worked in different capacities for major network equipment companies including Cisco, Huawei and Juniper. One of the founders, Khalid Raza, is an alumnus of Karachi's NED University of Engineering and Technology.

Viptela and other companies in this space are benefiting from the continuing transition to a cloud-based subscription business.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

Pakistani-American's Tech Unicorn Files For IPO at $1.6 Billion Valuation

Pakistani Brothers Spawned $20 Billion Security Software Industry

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fireeye Goes Public

Pakistani-American Pioneered 3D Technology in Orthodontics

Pakistani-Americans Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Pakistani-American Shahid Khan Richest South Asian in America

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Minorities Are Majority in Silicon Valley 


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Sunday, April 30, 2017

OPEN Silicon Valley Forum 2017: Pakistani Entrepreneurs Conference

Open Forum 2017, the annual conference of Pakistani entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, drew over 1,000 attendees, about half of them women. It featured presentations by successful entrepreneurs including Ahmad Khaishgi of SquareTrade and Mudassir Sheikha of Careem as well as sessions by powerful venture capitalists like Aaref Hilaly of Sequoia Capital. It is organized by the Organization of Pakistan Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley (OpenSV). In addition to entrepreneurs, the attendees were venture capitalists, bankers, accountants, lawyers and high-tech executives coming together at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday, April 29, 2017.



A variety of topics raging from cloud computing and virtual reality to internet of things (IoT) and sharing economy were discussed in three parallel tracks at the conference. A session that drew special attention was titled "Pakistan's Thriving Startup Ecosystem" that featured Fahad Aziz, Khurram Jamali, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis and Ather Imran Nawaz.

I was drawn to two conference sessions in particular: cloud computing and internet of things (IoT). The choice was guided by my own interest in these topics.



Cloud Computing:

Tariq Shaukat, President of Google Cloud, was the featured speaker in this session.

What is cloud computing? The last few years have seen a major shift from to old client-server to the new cloud computing model in information technology. Companies are shunning their own in-house IT infrastructure in favor of renting services from data centers operated by cloud companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft which also offer their proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs) and frameworks to support applications.



Tariq talked about a variety of Google Cloud APIs that include compute, storage, data, machine learning, management, identity and security APIs. He specifically focused on machine learning APIs for vision, speech, language and translation.

Answering  my question about portability of cloud applications, Tariq said they provide from apps written to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Google Cloud. However, he said nothing about ease of porting apps from Google to other competing cloud offerings. Unfortunately, Tariq's presentation looked and sounded more like a sales pitch for Google Cloud than a discussion of cloud computing model itself.

How does it affect IT companies? Among the most affected  by cloud computing are the IT outsourcing companies, particularly India-based TCS and Infosys, that relied on back office work for their revenue. The ongoing shift to cloud is now hurting that business.




Internet of Things (IoT):

Naeem Zafar (CEO TeleSense) moderated this panel featuring Ali Sebt (President VIMOC Tech), Nadir Fatehi (CEO Kiana Analytics), Nidhi Kalra (Rand Corp) and Mashood Alam (SAP Labs).

The growth of embedded computing chips in both industrial machines and consumer appliances combined with proliferation of networks are enabling the "Internet of Things" (IoT). Such networked machines collect operational and performance data from built-in sensors that can be analyzed and used to fine tune performance, schedule preventative maintenance, diagnose and fix problems (often remotely) and better manage them for the best results.  New revenue models can also be imagined by manufacturers based on the output and the outcomes of such systems.

An example of IoT I heard about recently is in the farm equipment business like tractors and harvesters. Before the advent of IoT and software, most American farmers repaired their own equipment. Now, they must call manufacturers like John Deere to fix it. And they need to sign long term service contracts guaranteeing additional revenue streams for the sellers.

Summary:

Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley (OPEN SV), led by Ms. Amra Tareen,  put on yet another great conference this year that drew over a thousand attendees, about half of them women. It was attended by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, bankers, accountants, lawyers and high-tech executives coming together at Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday, April 29, 2017. It featured successful entrepreneurs including Ahmad Khaishgi of SquareTrade and Mudassir Sheikha of Careem as well as powerful venture capitalists such as Aaref Hilaly of Sequoia Capital.

Haq's Musings

OPEN FORUM 2016

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans

Pakistani-American Leads Silicon Valley's Top Incubator

Silicon Valley Pakistanis Enabling 2nd Machine Revolution

Karachi-born Triple Oscar Winning Graphics Artist

Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz's Fire-eye Goes Public

Two Pakistani-American Silicon Valley Techs Among Top 5 VC Deals

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 



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Monday, April 24, 2017

Pakistani Diaspora Bucks Global Trend With 2.8% Higher Remittances in 2016

Pakistani diaspora bucked the 2016 global decline in remittances with a modest 2.8% increase over 2015, according to a recently released World Bank report. An estimated $19.8 billion remitted to Pakistan amounted to 6.9% of the country's GDP. This is a welcome relief coming on the heels of the State Bank of Pakistan report indicating the country's current account deficit widened to $6.13 billion or 2.6% of GDP in the first 9 months of fiscal 2017.

2016 Remittances to South Asia. Source: World Bank

Global Decline:

Meanwhile, global remittance flows to developing countries registered a decline for two successive years, said the report.  Remittances declined by an estimated 2.4 percent, to $429 billion, in 2016, after a decline of 1 percent in 2015. India, the largest remittance-receiving country worldwide, led the fall with a decrease of 8.9 percent in remittance inflows.

South Asia Region:

Remittances to India declined by 8.9 percent in 2016, to $62.7 billion, ranking the country as the top recipient of such inflows.  In Bangladesh, remittances declined by an estimated 11.1 percent in 2016. In Pakistan, the 12 percent growth witnessed in 2015 moderated to an estimated 2.8 percent in 2016. Nepal experienced unusually high growth in remittances, at 14.3 percent in 2015, due to emigrants sending financial assistance after the earthquake. In 2016, remittance flows to Nepal declined by an estimated 6.7 percent from the previous year’s high level. In Sri Lanka, remittance growth was estimated at 3.9 percent in 2016.

Next Year Forecast:

The World Bank says the remittance growth in the region is projected to remain muted, because of low growth and fiscal consolidation in GCC countries with low energy prices. An increase of only 2.0 percent is expected in 2017. Bangladesh’s remittance growth in 2017 is forecast at 2.4 percent, India’s at 1.9 percent, Pakistan’s at 1.4 percent, and Sri Lanka’s at 1.3 percent.

Summary:

World Bank report says Pakistani diaspora bucked the 2016 global decline in remittances with a modest 2.8% increase over 2015. An estimated $19.8 billion remitted to Pakistan amounted to 6.9% of the country's GDP. This is a welcome relief coming on the heels of the State Bank of Pakistan report indicating the country's current account deficit widened to $6.13 billion or 2.6% of GDP in the first 9 months of fiscal 2017. Future growth in remittances is likely to remain muted. Slowing growth in such inflows will further increase pressure on Pakistan to work on enhancing exports and attracting more foreign direct investment.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

CPEC and FDI

Pakistan Remittances Rise Amid Falling Oil Prices

Pakistani Diaspora Among World's Largest

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Add 2 Million Jobs

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

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