Business

NEW YORK (APP) – Pakistan and the United States on Friday signed an action plan on women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment at a major business conference, which concluded on Friday.

The action plan was signed by the United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell, and Pakistan’s Additional Secretary of Commerce, Robina Ather, at a simple ceremony on the sidelines of the two-day U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, which was aimed at building linkages between US and Pakistani businesses.

Among those present at the ceremony were Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, who led the Pakistan delegation at the conference, and US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, who headed the American delegation.

The action plan stems from a 2014 U.S.-Pakistan Memorandum of Understanding to enable women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship.

A key aspect will be a ‘Women in the Economy Forum’ that consults and mobilizes private-public partnerships from both countries to coordinate and formulate recommendations for gender inclusiveness in business.

The two-day conference, the fourth in a series, was the first to be held in the United States. The previous conferences took place in London, Dubai and Islamabad.

This conference built upon the Joint Action Plan that President Obama and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif committed to for increasing bilateral trade and investment during the next five years, modernizing Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure, and promoting a healthier business climate in Pakistan.

About 300 industry representatives, investors, and government leaders from the two countries as well as emerging professionals and entrepreneurs attended the conference held at the CitiCorp building in mid-town Manhattan.

At a press conference, Khurram Dastgir Khan said that the the fourth business conference was a “manifestation of that commitment” made by the two leaders. U.S.-Pakistan ties, he added, would mature and deepen in the years ahead.

In his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted that the conference was a special opportunity to build new commercial ties that would strengthen lasting economic linkages between the United States and Pakistan.

“American firms are excited about doing more business in Pakistan and for good reason, too,” he said, adding that Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population. Of its 196 million residents, two-thirds were under the age of 30, “Clearly, this is an attractive market with many strategic advantages and there is enormous room for growth,” Andrews said. “Yet Pakistan still faces unique challenges in today’s global economy.”