Karachi - There are more people studying for O- and A-levels in Pakistan – some 170,000 of them - than anywhere else outside of the UK, said Lord Green, UK minister of state for trade and investment, while speaking to the members of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership (KSBL) at the British Deputy High Commission on Thursday.
“One of the most important areas where we can work together to ensure future prosperity is education. It is an area in which the UK and Pakistan are already jointly engaged and where, in a country with 33 million students, there is huge potential,” he added.
“We have 30,000 students from Pakistan in the UK, and graduates of UK universities are the backbone of many businesses here in Pakistan. The many thousands of Pakistani students who sit the ACCA and CIMA accounting qualifications can help to drive up trade and investment between our countries.”
He pointed out that UK Prime Minister David Cameron had announced £650 million for education in Pakistan last year. “These UK funds will help to get more than four million children into school, help recruit and train ninety thousand teachers and provide six million sets of text books,” he added.
Green also highlighted the strategic partnership between the KSBL and the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.
Speaking on trade ties, he said UK exports to Pakistan have shown double-digit levels of growth over the last year. “I was pleased to note that Pakistan’s exports to the UK rose by 17 percent in the months from January to October, with particularly strong growth in textiles,” he added.
He noted that the UK is the top destination in Europe for exports from Pakistan. It is also the largest European investor in Pakistan. Of the international businesses operating here, one in six is British and the UK is Pakistan's strongest advocate for market access to the EU.
“We strongly support the European Commission's proposal to extend GSP Plus eligibility to Pakistan. Negotiations are ongoing and we are pleased that the European Parliament's draft report has welcomed the extension of GSP Plus. There is further potential for developing bilateral trade as UK consumers become more aware of what Pakistan has to offer.”
UK Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi, who is accompanying Green on his first visit to Pakistan as trade minister also present on the occasion, alongside Hussain Dawood, chairman of the KSBL.
Other guests included members of Karachi’s “Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry” and the “Pakistan Business Council”.
Speaking on the occasion, Hussain Dawood said Pakistan is facing numerous internal and external challenges and one of the ways these can be addressed is by nurturing and grooming its human talent.
“The best way to do so is by establishing centres of excellence for applied education and training. The KSBL is one such example, being established in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, offering world-class education in leadership and business with a focus on ethics and social responsibility,” he added.