Showing posts from 2017

Per Capita Income in "Failed State" of Pakistan Up 22% in 2012-2017

Per capita income in Pakistan, often described as a "failed state",  grew 22% from 2012 to 2017, according to data from international sources. This is remarkable given major security challenges and particularly bad press the country has had to deal with during this period.  Also remarkable is the fact that the share of income of the poorest 20% has grown faster than other economies in Asia.

Per Capita Incomes in Large Economies:

China PPP per capita income grew the fastest at 48%, followed by India 43%, Turkey 32%, Indonesia 23%, Pakistan 22%, United Kingdom, United States and Japan 15%,  Germany and Canada 13%, France 11%, Saudi Arabia 10%, Greece 9.5%, Russia and Italy 8%,  Nigeria 7.5% and Brazil 0%.

In the 5 year period 2001 to 2006 prior to the outbreak of the current wave of terrorism, Pakistan per capita income grew 36%, much faster than the 22% in the last 5 years. This is indicative of Pakistan's potential for faster economic growth if the security situation cont…

GE Turbine Problems Hit Power Generation at 3 Pakistani Plants

Pakistan's Central Power Purchasing Agency's report shows that General Electric's 9HA-Class turbines produced only half of their capacity this August, according to Reuters. Power executives and government officials in the country said the GE turbines had operational issues like long outages and production delays.

GE Turbine Problems:

The GE turbine problems affected three key plants – Bhikki of Punjab government and Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah of the federal government – with a total capacity of 3,600MW that are considered crucial to end load shedding within the ruling PMLN's 5-year term ending middle of 2018.

Consequences For Pakistan:

Pakistan's government is failing to deliver on its promise to end load-shedding this year because of serious issues with GE's 9HA-Class turbine.

"It had terrible consequences because we lost a lot of power which would have come to the grid during the peak summer," Yousuf Naseem Khokhar, a top official in Pakistan'…

2017: The Year Islamophobia Went Mainstream

Islamophobia is no longer extreme; the year 2017 saw it go mainstream in Europe, India, the United States and several other parts of the world.

Openly Islamophobic Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States in 2017. India's largest state of Uttar Pradesh elected rabidly anti-Muslim chief minister Yogi Adiyanath who was hand-picked by Muslim-hating Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017.  Neo-Nazis made significant electoral gains with their anti-Islam rhetoric in several European nations while Burma and Israel continued to get away with the murder of  innocent Muslim civilians in 2017.

These alarming trends are reminiscent of the rise of Nazi Party led by Germany's Adolf Hitler who brought disaster to Europe and the rest of the world less than a century ago.

Trump's Muslim Ban:

The year of Islamophobia began in earnest on January 20, 2017 with the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump who called for "total and complete shutdown" of  Muslim…

Can CPEC Make Pakistani Manufacturing More Competitive?

In addition to a basic sense of security, the cost of production and availability of required skills are essential for making manufacturing competitive. Cost has several components: labor cost and abundant, cheap energy and infrastructure. Skill comes from education and training infrastructure. Will CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) help Pakistan achieve competitiveness on these fronts?

Abundant, Cheap Energy:
Costs rise dramatically if expensive plant and equipment are not fully utilized due to lack of gas and electricity. It is hard for a manufacturer to be competitive if its factories lie idle for many hours a day due to load-shedding as has been the case in Pakistan for many years. 

Transport Infrastructure:
Manufacturers rely heavily on efficient supply chains. They need required parts delivered on time to continue to operate. Others who depend on their output need to have their orders filled on a just-in-time (JIT) basis. All of this not possible without reliable transport i…

Indian "Hindu Nazis" Join Forces With Western Neo-Nazis to Threaten World Peace

In an op ed titled "Hitler's Hindus: The Rise and Rise of India's Nazi-Loving Nationalists" published by leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, author Shrenik Rao raises alarm bells about "large and growing community of Indian Hindu Nazis, who are digitally connected to neo-Nazi counterparts across the world".

Rao talks about Nagpur, a town he describes as the "epicenter of Hindu Nationalism", where he found  ‘Hitler’s Den’ pool parlor "that shocked me on a round-India trip 10 years ago was no outlier. Admiration for Nazism – often reframed with a genocidal hatred for Muslims – is rampant in the Hindu nationalist camp, which has never been as mainstream as it is now".

History of Hindu Nationalism:

Hindu nationalists in India have a long history of admiration for the Nazi leader, including his "Final Solution". In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak…

Ignite: Pakistan Federal Government Fund to Promote Tech R&D

Guest Post by Yusuf Husain
CEO, Ignite

The mandate of Ignite, formerly National ICT R&D Fund, a Government owned non profit company, affiliated with the Ministry of IT, Government of Pakistan, is to fund innovative projects that solve local problems or target global opportunities. Since early 2017 we are focusing on startups based on 4th Industrial Wave technology – like AI, IoT, Robotics and AR – whose technology risk is beyond the appetite of private sector investors, with the expectation that investors and corporates will participate in subsequent rounds or else purchase or license the technology. With about ten deals a quarter, with average size of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, we also fund academia and industry projects with strong, well-articulated commercial potential and intent. This year projects include a smart stent, which detects slippage, clotting and re-stenosis, an IoT based water management system that detects moisture in the air and fluid in the ground, a…

India Breakup; Pakistan NGO Expulsions; Alabama Democrat Jones' Upset Win

Does Lord Meghnad Desai's question "A country of many nations, will India break up" raised in his latest book "The Raisina Model" make any sense? Why would India break up? What are the challenges to India's unity? Is there an identity crisis in India? Is it the power imbalance among Indian states? Is it growing income disparity among peoples and states? Is it religious, ethnic, caste and/or regional fault lines running through the length and breadth of India? Is it beef ban?

Why is Pakistan expelling dozens of foreign-funded NGOs? Is it the fall-out from Save The Children NGO's alleged collusion with the CIA in fake polio vaccination scheme to find Osama Bin Laden? Is it a general concern about the NGOs role in subverting and corrupting society as explained by Stephen Kinzer's book "The Brothers" about John Foster and Alan Dulles? Is it the State Department documents describing US-funded international NGOs as "force multipliers"…

Pakistan Mobile Broadband Speed Fastest in South Asia

Pakistan's average mobile broadband speed of 13.1 megabits per second is the fastest in South Asia, according to Ookla Global Speed Test Index 2017.  Mobile broadband speeds in other South Asian countries are: Myanmar 11.7, Nepal 11, Sri Lanka 9.3, India 8.8 and Bangladesh 4.97.

World Speed Rankings:

South Asia region remains far behind the rest of the world. Pakistan ranks 89, Myanmar 94, Nepal 99, Sri Lanka 107, India 109 and Bangladesh 120 among 122 nations ranked by Ookla.  Norway tops the list with 62.66 Mbps followed by the Netherlands 53, Iceland 52.78, Singapore 51.5 and Malta 50.46 Mbps.  United States is ranked 44 with 26.32 Mbps.

Smartphones/broadband Growth:

The growth of mobile broadband has spurred demand for smartphones. Pakistan now has nearly 50 million mobile broadband subscriptions with as many smartphones. Both smartphones and broadband user base in Pakistan are surging at a rate of 1 to 2 million a month.

Next Billion Users:

Google believes the next billion smart…

Rising Share of Income of Poorest 20% Pakistani Households

The share of national income of Pakistan's poorest 20% of households has increased from 8.1% to 9.6% since 1990 , according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (NESCAP) Statistical Yearbook for 2015.  It's the highest share of income for the bottom income quintile in the region.

Income Share Change in Asia's Poorest Quintile: 

The countries where people in the poorest income quintile have increased their share of total income include Kyrgyzstan (from 2.5 per cent to 7.7), the Russian Federation (4.4 per cent to 6.5), Kazakhstan (7.5 per cent to 9.5) and Pakistan (8.1 per cent to 9.6).  India's bottom income quintile has seen its share of income drop from 9% to 7.8%.

Although more people in China have lifted themselves out of poverty than any other country in the world, the poorest quintile in that country now accounts for a lower percentage of total income (4.7 per cent) than in the early 1990s (8.0 per cent). The same unfortunate t…

Katas Raj Temple Case Exposes Pakistan's Groundwater Crisis

Pakistan Supreme Court has recently taken notice of the drying water pond at Katas Raj temple located in Chakwal district in the nation's Punjab province.  Hindus believe that it was formed from the tears Lord Shiva shed after the death of his wife Sati.

Why is the temple pond drying up? What is happening to the water source that used to keep it full? Is it symptomatic of a much larger  life-and-death issue of water stress Pakistan faces? Let's explore the answers to these questions.

Groundwater Depletion:

Katas Raj temple pond is a victim of the falling water table due to increasing use of groundwater in Pakistan. Pakistan, India, and the United States are responsible for two-thirds of that outsize groundwater use globally,  according to a report by University College London researcher Carole Dalin.  Nearly half of this groundwater is used to grow wheat and rice crops for domestic consumption and exports.  This puts Pakistan among the world's largest exporters of its rapid…

Credit Suisse: Pakistan's Wealth Inequality is the Lowest in South Asia

Data released by Credit Suisse with its Global Wealth Report 2017 shows that Pakistan is the most egalitarian nation in South Asia. It also confirms that the median wealth of Pakistani households is three times higher than that of households in India.

Wealth Inequality:

Inequality is measured in terms of Gini index. It ranges from 0% for perfect equality (when everyone has the same wealth)  to 100% for total inequality (when all of the wealth is owned by one person).  On this scale, Pakistan’s Gini index is 52.6%, Bangladesh’s 57.9%, Sri Lanka’s 66.5%, Nepal’s 67.3%, China’s 78.9% and India's 83%.

Household Wealth:

Here is per capita wealth data for India and Pakistan as of mid-2017, according to Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2017 released recently.

Pakistan average wealth per adult: $5,174 vs India $5,976
Pakistan median wealth per adult: $3,338 vs India $1,295

Average household wealth in Pakistan is $15,522 (3 adults) vs India $14,940 (2.5 adults)
Median household wealth in Pakistan…