Pakistan's economic growth story key factors: Washington Post

Pakistan's economic growth story key factors: Washington Post

ISLAMABAD (APP): Several factors are fueling Pakistan's enormous economic growth which also attract foreign investment.

Three key factors are driving Pakistan's economic awakening: an improved security climate, relative political stability and a growing middle class.

"These three interlocking pieces are fueling Pakistan's growth story - a vital story given the size and geo-political weight of the nuclear-armed South Asian nation of nearly 200 million people," a report in the Washington Post said.

It said Pakistan boasted the best stock market in Asia in 2016.

The high-flying Karachi Stock Exchange Index is up more than 52 percent over the past year - and rising.

The exchange broke through the vaunted 50,000 mark last month - a first in history.

"What's more, Pakistan is winning plaudits from the International Monetary Fund, and its economy is forecast for a healthy 5.2 percent growth rate in 2017, according to the World Bank," the report added.

It said in mid-May, the world's largest research-based provider of index funds, MSCI, will officially "graduate" Pakistan from its frontier-market category to the more prestigious - and well-capitalized - "emerging market" index.

It will join 23 other countries on the index that represents 10 percent of world capitalization.

In 2013, when Nawaz Sharif was elected, it marked the first democratic transition of power in the country.

Sharif entered office as the great global transformation was taking place worldwide - of technological connectivity, rapid urbanization and rising middle class consumption - continued to churn. And Pakistan has not missed that train.

The report said robust middle classes are vital to healthy societies and growing economies, and Pakistan's middle class may have reached a tipping point, with some estimates suggesting that it accounts for more than half the population.

A Brookings Institution scholar argues that Pakistan's consumer middle-class market could hit $1 trillion by 2030.

These middle classes are also attracting foreign investment.

That bullishness has led Pakistan to enter the emerging- markets. One of the latest post-BRICS acronyms of rising economies making the rounds: VARP, for Vietnam, Argentina, Romania and Pakistan. Yes, that Pakistan.

Pakistan's giant neighbour China, the report said, has pledged a whopping $46 billion programme to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that would build new highways, overhaul railway and create new infrastructure to support 10,000 megawatts of additional power.