Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged world leaders to undertake joint efforts to address impediments in the way of sustainable global growth.
In his address at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday, the prime minister presented five ways to further expand China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“Firstly, we must undertake joint efforts to mitigate climate change. In our Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, we successfully planted a billion trees. I suggest we launch a joint project to plant 100 billion trees over the next two years, so that we can mitigate the effects of climate change for our coming generations,” said PM Imran.
“We should create a poverty alleviation fund that supplements national efforts in the fight against poverty and malnourishment. In Pakistan, we have recently launched a targeted poverty alleviation programme called ‘Ehsas’. The aim should be to emulate China’s spectacular success in lifting 800 million people out of poverty within a matter of decades,” said the PM.
“Lastly, we must make concerted efforts to further liberalise trade and investment flows encouraging our private sector and businesses to collaborate in projects.”
The prime minister said BRI offers an unprecedented model of international collaboration. “In a world of geopolitical uncertainty, of rising inequality and barriers to trade, the BRI offers a model of collaboration, partnership, connectivity and shared prosperity. The presence of so many leaders today is the proof that we choose hope over despair and cooperation over confrontation.”
He said Pakistan was among the BRI’s “earliest and most enthusiastic proponents”, and spoke of the “substantial progress” achieved on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “Pakistan’s energy supplies have increased massively. Our critical infrastructure gaps are being plugged. Gwadar, once a small fishing village, is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub. Gwadar Airport will be the largest in the country.”
“Together, Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of CPEC, with greater emphasis on socio-economic uplift, poverty alleviation, agricultural cooperation and industrial development. We are expanding the frontiers of knowledge through closer engagement and deeper cooperation in the fields of education, innovation and technology.”
“Along the length of the corridor, Special Economic Zones are set to come up, offering opportunities for investments for Pakistani, Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs. Supplementing the next phase of CPEC, we are signing an expanded Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement.”
Quoting a Chinese proverb – “The ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers” – PM Imran said Pakistan will continue “to work on the basis of mutual respect and equal opportunity, with China and other BRI partners, for a better future of our people”.
Extending an invitation to international investors, he reiterated Pakistan’s desire to partner with “all those who share the vision for a peaceful and prosperous world”.
“I take this opportunity to invite all of you to avail our liberal foreign investment regime and participate in our economy, in particular infrastructure, railways, dams, IT and manufacturing.”