The Global Social Network
Pakistan is in the middle of multiple serious crises. But the vast majority of Pakistanis feel that they have better lives than their parents did, and they think their children will have even better lives than theirs, according to a Gallup International Poll of 64 countries conducted from August to October last year. The poll asked two questions: 1) Do you feel your life is better, worse or roughly similar to that of your parents? and 2) Do you think your children will have a better, worse or roughly the same life as you? The answers to these questions reveal that Pakistanis are among the top 5 most positive nations among 64 countries polled by Gallup International. Anecdotal evidence in terms of packed shopping malls and restaurants in Pakistan's major cities confirms it. Such positivity augurs well for Pakistan's prospects of successfully dealing with the current crises. It will drive the nation's recovery.
|Doing Better Than Parents. Source: Gallup International|
Pakistanis Among Most Optimistic:
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Pakistanis said they live better than their parents did. And 69% of Pakistani parents think their children will have better lives than they do. In neighboring India, 54% of respondents feel their lives are better than their parents' while only 43% say their children will have better lives than theirs'. The global average for the former is 51% and it is 44% for the latter. The poll results put Pakistanis among the world's five most hopeful nations.
|Optimism For Children. Source: Gallup International|
Most of the countries are positive on both questions, but if one looks for instance for countries with both above 50% positive answers, Nigeria stands out with 171 (81% positive for today plus 90% positive for tomorrow), followed by Kosovo (162), the United Arab Emirates (150), Ghana (141) and Pakistan (134), according to Gallup International.
|Sum of Percentages of Positive Answers to Both Questions. Source: G...|
Pakistan (69% better minus 18% worse) is among the most positive countries. India is much less positive (43% minus 33%). Nigeria (90% minus 6%) tops the list in terms of positivity and the most negative is Slovenia (14% minus 53%). Among the prominent countries where GIA could poll, expectations for their children’s future are highest in Nigeria, followed by Russia (52% minus 10%), Mexico (48% minus 30%) and the USA (43% minus 31%). When combining the two questions, another perspective is added. For instance, Moldova shows a total of 86 (45% saying that their live is worse than the one of their parents plus 41% expecting a worse life of today’s children), followed in this negative ranking by North Macedonia (82: 35% negative assessments plus 47% negative predictions), Afghanistan (81), Syria and Italy (78), etc.
Economic Mobility in Pakistan:
Pakistanis' positive responses in the Gallup poll appear to be supported by a World Bank study. Economic mobility across generations, also known as intergenerational mobility (IGM), is a key measure of human progress. It shows that Pakistan is doing relatively well, according to a World Bank sponsored study. The analysis examines whether those born in poverty or in prosperity are destined to remain in the same economic circumstances into which they were born, and looks back over a half a century at whether children’s lives are better or worse than their parents’ in different parts of the world.
|Inter-Generational Income Mobility Map of the World 2018. Source: W...|
Intergenerational Income Mobility Study:
The World Bank study uses a newly created 2018 database—the Global Database of Intergenerational Mobility (GDIM)—that covers more than 95 percent of the global population. Intergenerational income mobility measures how children's incomes compare with their parents' incomes at similar stages of life over a period of 50 years.
|Inter-Generational Income Inequality Scatter Plot of the World 2018...|
The study found that higher intergenerational income mobility is associated with lower income inequality.
More and more Pakistanis are sharing in their nation's development, according to The World Economic Forum (WEF). Pakistan ranks 47 among 74 emerging economies ranked for inclusive development by the WEF released report at Davos, Switzerland. Inclusive development in the South Asian country has increased 7.56% over the last 5 years. The World Economic Forum assesses inclusive development based on "living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness."
“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air...but only for one second without hope.” American author Hal Lindsey
“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air...but only for one second without hope.”
by American author Hal Lindsey
68% of young Pakistanis want to stay in Pakistan, according to a British Council survey "Pakistan -The Next Generation Report 2023"
Preference for Pakistan
Pakistan’s brain drain has always been a major
concern for the country’s fledgling growth.
According to statistics available with the Bureau of
Emigration and Overseas Employment , over three
quarters of a million people left Pakistan for abroad
in 2022, nearly triple the departures in 2021. The
deteriorating economic and political situation has
much to contribute to the uncertainty that drives
people to leave their homeland for financial security
However, the Next Generation, despite these
uncertainties, prefers to stay in Pakistan instead of
As in the case of identity, variations exist between
those who want to move abroad, and those who
want to stay. Young people preferring the former are
more likely to be male, privately educated, with
access to and utilization of the internet. They are
also more educated, with many receiving graduate
and postgraduate education. Regionally,
respondents from Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Gilgit
Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were more
likely to prefer moving abroad.
Sajid Amin Javed
Two studies, two different worlds.
62% wanted to leave Pakistan
68% wanted to stay in Pakistan.
Coffee trumps economic crisis as Tim Hortons opens in Pakistan
LAHORE, Pakistan Feb 14 (Reuters) - Pakistanis are queuing for hours to grab coffee and pastries from Canadian chain Tim Hortons, which opened its first outlet in the South Asian country this week just as its economic crisis took a turn for the worse.
In less than a month, Pakistan's currency has lost more than a quarter of its value against the U.S. dollar, and fuel prices have risen by almost a fifth as the government implemented fiscal measures that are prerequisite to unlocking funds from an International Monetary Fund bailout.
Inflation in January spiked to 27% year-on-year, the highest in more than a decade, and the government only has enough foreign reserves to pay for just over three weeks of imports.
All that hasn't stopped scores of Pakistanis from thronging to the cafe since it opened on Saturday at an upmarket Lahore shopping mall.
Tim Hortons is owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc (RBI) (QSR.TO), , a Toronto-based company that also owns other fast food brands including Burger King and Popeyes.
"Higher prices don't really matter for the class of people coming here," Ahmad Javed, a medical student who used to go to Tim Hortons while he was living in Canada, told Reuters as he queued up.
"Rich people in Pakistan are getting richer, the poor are becoming poorer while the middle class is struggling."
According to its online menu, a small brewed coffee costs 350 rupees ($1.30), while a large flavoured coffee is twice as much. By comparison, the average government-mandated minimum wage is 25,000 rupees ($94) a month.
With a population of more than 230 million and a $350-billion economy, Pakistan remains a growth market for fast-food companies. McDonald's (MCD.N), Retail Food Group (RFG.AX)-owned Gloria Jean's Coffee and Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N)-owned Pizza Hut are among the international brands with outlets in Pakistan.
Tim Hortons is set to open another two outlets in Lahore, RBI said in a statement. Pakistani firm Blue Foods operates the franchise. Both companies declined to give any details about the outlet's sales in the opening week.
For students such as Pareeshay Khan, the brand's social media traction trumps the cost of the coffee. "I'm here to taste the coffee that's the top social media trend. I don't know about the price, nor do I care."
What are the top 5 things Pakistan must do for long term improvement in its economy?
1. Incentivize domestic savings
2. Prioritize investing in export oriented sectors
3. Broaden tax base with agriculture, service sector income
4. Incentivize documentation of economy
5. Ensure political stability/security for investors
GDP Growth Rate in Pakistan averaged 4.92 percent from 1952 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 10.22 percent in 1954 and a record low of -1.80 percent in 1952.
Pakistan is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Asia. Pakistan has a growing semi-industrialized economy that relies on manufacturing, agriculture and remittances. Although since 2005 the GDP has been growing an average 5 percent a year, it is not enough to keep up with fast population growth. To make things even worst, political instability, widespread corruption and lack of law enforcement hamper private investment and foreign aid.
Severe dollar crisis hobbles Bangladesh businesses | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera
Severe dollar crisis hobbles #Bangladesh businesses.The #import-dependent nation is facing #economic hardship in the wake of #Russia’s invasion of #Ukraine as prices shoot up. #Hasina #Modi | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera
Dhaka, Bangladesh – Spice trader Mohammed Enayet Ullah has made at least four attempts since November to open a letter of credit to pay for imports of cumin, cardamom and cloves, some of the most essential spices used in Bangladeshi cooking, only to be refused by banks due to a shortage of dollars.
Importers in Bangladesh need to open letters of credit with one of the country’s 61 scheduled banks to buy foreign goods and services. It is essentially a financial contract issued by an importer’s bank that guarantees payment to the seller in dollars. In case a buyer doesn’t pay up, the bank has to take on the liabilities.
But there is a severe shortage of greenbacks in Bangladesh due to its dwindling foreign reserves and a sharp drop in the value of its taka currency against the dollar. In the past six months, Bangladesh’s foreign reserves have dropped below $32bn from $39bn while the value of the taka has fallen by 27 percent from 84 to the dollar to 107.
The South Asian nation has been facing severe economic hardship since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago. In its import-dependent economy, rising global fuel oil and other commodity prices have caused nearly double-digit inflation and depleted foreign reserves.
To protect the declining reserves, the government had stopped all non-essential imports and reduced the supply of dollars to commercial banks. This has not only forced banks to refuse new letters of credit applications but also has made their promised payments to foreign suppliers for previous imports uncertain.
Local media reported that at least 20 banks with negative balances in their foreign currency holdings could not make these payments.
According to Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, the number of new letters of credit slumped 14 percent year-on-year in the July-to-December period, and payments of those debts declined by 9 percent, indicating defaults.
These numbers, however, don’t fully convey the perils of medium-sized importers like Ullah.
Ullah owns the spice trading company Hedayet & Brothers, which usually imports half of its annual $2m of essential spices ahead of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, in which local consumption at least triples in the South Asian nation. But now, with barely a month left until the start of Ramadan, he is worried that a failure to secure new supplies would put a big dent in his balance sheet.
“I will lose a huge business,” Ullah, who also acts as the president of the Bangladesh Spices Traders Association, told Al Jazeera, “Traders will be compelled to increase the prices of spices because of the increasing gap between demand and supply. Ultimately consumers will be the biggest losers.”
Fear of losing credit rating
Large businesses also have not been able to insulate themselves from the dollar crisis. In January, multiple ships carrying goods like sugar and cooking oil for the importer Meghna Group of Industries (MGI), a Bangladeshi conglomerate with $1.2bn in revenues, got stuck in Chattagram port for weeks as the guarantor Agrani Bank couldn’t make the payment to the foreign supplier due to a shortage of dollars. MGI, however, had paid the full amount to the bank for the products in local currency.
“In addition to direct IMF financing, such programmes have a ‘crowding in’ effect as other international lenders will become more amenable to finance the current account deficit of Bangladesh,” said Rahman, who is hopeful that will happen soon.
On India, say nothing
No matter how many opportunities the Biden administration gets, officials just can’t get themselves to criticize India.
The latest example comes from Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN, who in New Delhi today dodged a question about human rights abuses committed by Prime Minister NARENDRA MODI’s government.
“We have to continue to hold ourselves to our core values, including respect for universal human rights, like freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly — which makes our democracy stronger,” Blinken said in restrained language while stressing the U.S. isn’t perfect, either. He did, however, insist that he raises such topics with his Indian counterpart.
Blinken’s answer was illustrative of how carefully President JOE BIDEN’s team treads when it comes to India. That’s despite the Indian government’s amply documented crackdowns on minorities, the media and civil society. And it has persisted even amid India’s surge in trade with Russia that undermines U.S. sanctions designed to end the war in Ukraine.
The Biden administration considers India a critical counterweight to China. So the U.S. is often reluctant to publicly say anything that might undermine this convenient alliance, even if it harms the administration’s narrative of standing up for human rights and democracy worldwide, human rights advocates say.
The U.S. and India may “speak privately about human rights issues, but problematic governments don’t change their conduct unless they face public scrutiny, so, of course, that’s why it’s important to speak publicly,” said JOHN SIFTON, an advocacy director with Human Rights Watch.
The group sent Blinken a letter ahead of his India trip asking him to raise specific human rights concerns while he was there. The letter urged him to do so “including in your public comments.” (Yes, the italics were in the letter.)
The Indian government, meanwhile, is pursuing what it sees as its national interest. That means joining the United States against China, and buying cheap gas from a needy Russia. It’s easy to have it both ways when both countries need you.
The Indian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Indian officials have generally denied abusing human rights, often citing legal and security-related reasons for various crackdowns.
Inside the State Department, many diplomats are frustrated by the kid-glove treatment. The caution toward India isn’t just in public settings, they say, but also in internal, private documents.
A Feb. 17 State Department cable from the U.S. Embassy in India, for instance, recounted a 60-hour raid Indian authorities recently carried out at the BBC’s offices in New Delhi. Indian officials called it a “survey” to examine allegations of tax evasion. But it happened to follow Indian fury over a BBC documentary about Modi’s role in past anti-Muslim violence.
What was striking about the unclassified cable, a copy of which NatSec Daily obtained, was how it avoided any real analysis or direct conclusions from U.S. diplomats. Instead, it recited basic facts and relied on the voices of outsiders, such as opposition politicians or Indian journalists, to raise critical points.
“One senior journalist asked why Indian authorities confiscated phones of working level reporters when the alleged tax offenses would have been committed by BBC management,” the cable noted. There was no mention of U.S. officials raising the issue with the Indian government.
On India, say nothing
One State Department official said the language in the cable showed the challenges of reporting on the reality of India that Washington sometimes does not want to hear. A second State official was more blunt, saying the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi was well-known among diplomats for having “clientitus” — meaning it tends to parrot a host country’s line or at least avoid looking at it through a critical lens.
“Delhi is terrible on any kind of human rights reporting,” the second official said of the embassy there. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the cable, but insisted that U.S. officials regularly engage with top Indian officials on human rights issues.