The integration of exchange programs into the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) industrial cooperation can inject dynamism into Pakistan's economic fabric, says a senior official.
“By nurturing a skilled workforce, enabling cross-cultural proficiency, and fostering bilateral ties, this initiative resonates with the spirit of comprehensive and inclusive development, propelling Pakistan towards a prosperous and globally competitive future,” said Zafar-ul-Hasan, Joint Chief Economist, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, while talking to WealthPK.
Zafar said that during the past four decades, the Chinese economy has grown at an unprecedented pace, transforming a predominantly agricultural economy into an industrial powerhouse. He said China is shifting from labour-intensive to capital-intensive industries, freeing up 85 million jobs that will move to other countries.
“The global expansion and integration of China's economy have yielded substantial benefits not only for China itself but also for the rest of the world, driven by various factors such as investment flows, trade opportunities, cross-border employment, and technological advancements. These positive spillover effects of China's economic growth have had a transformative impact on the global economic landscape,” the official said.
He said the CPEC is a focal point of Pakistan and China’s joint efforts to achieve common development.
“We should use this economic corridor to drive our practical cooperation with a focus on Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure development, and industrial cooperation,” he said.
“The fact that 60% of Pakistan's labour force is under the age of 40, the transfer of skills, technical expertise, and best industry practices from China could significantly enhance Pakistan's workforce capabilities, fostering a more skilled and competitive labour pool. This, in turn, could lead to increased productivity, job creation, and attractiveness to foreign investors, particularly from China,” he added.
Prof Dr Fakhr-ul-Islam, Director of Pakistan Study Centre, University of Peshawar, told WealthPK that education, along with other key areas, offers vast opportunities for collaboration between Pakistan and China.
“China has sponsored several educational and cultural institutes in Pakistan to teach Chinese language and culture. This has provided Pakistanis with an opportunity to learn about China, further strengthening the cultural ties between the two countries,” Dr Fakhr said.
“The University of Peshawar has taken a lead by establishing the first-ever China Study Centre (CSC) in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The aim of the Centre is to create linkages with China through research, learning, executing projects, and people-to-people contacts. The CSC seeks to make the University of Peshawar a rich source of knowledge of China,” he said.
In a significant move to enhance bilateral cooperation and foster stronger economic ties, Pakistan and China have signed six memorandums of understanding (MoUs). The MoU on Strengthening Workers Exchange Program was signed between All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and Pakistan’s Board of Investment, within the ambit of CPEC industrial cooperation.