Private sector holds key to South Asia economic integration
NEW DELHI: (Pajhwok): The private sector has been the key driver for successful economic integrations including the EU, North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), observed participants of the three-day South Asia Economic Conclave (SAEC).
Like the developed regions, it was argued, South Asia needed to promote a favorable environment to build a private sector-led growth model of small and medium enterprises.
The participants were of the opinion that public and private sector were key allies in making economic integration of South Asian region a success.
Abdul Qadir Bahman, Deputy Chief Executive of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), speaking at the conclave, said Afghanistan did not have any trade problems but due to its geographical location, the landlocked country faced immense transit challenges.
“Some bilateral agreements are already in place among countries of South Asia for trade and transit, but due to political differences, they could not be implemented,” he added.
Abdul Wassey Haqiqi, a senior advisor at the ACCI, said South Asia countries had immense resources and skilled labour, but for a widened vision and a win--win situation SAARC needed to evaluate what it had done and achieved so far. “More attention should be paid to e-commerce and e-governance in the region,” he added.
The role of media in economic integration of the region was also highlighted and media in the region was urged to adhere to constructive criticism rather than sensational and jingoistic. For regional integration it was also argued that media needed to “rise beyond nationalism and tell each other’s stories of South Asia.”
Lotfullah Najafizada, Tolonews TV head, said: “Media can promote economic narrative and investments in the South Asian region rather than political or government narrative.”
The South Asia economic conclave – attended by government officials, business leaders, policy makers civil society and media leaders of the region in New Delhi -- has been cited to stimulate informed dialogue between the private sector and government to promote regional trade and investment, which would in turn help catalyze higher growth and new job opportunities for all countries in South Asia.
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