Peshawar - Four-day 35th AGM and Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) on ‘Opportunities to Excel: Now & the Future’ hosted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) in collaboration with the Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences) concluded here on Thursday. 

The conference was sponsored by the World Bank Group, CPEC Centre of Excellence, the Bank of Punjab, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Ltd, National Productivity Organisation (NPO) Pakistan, HBL, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Saif Group of Companies, Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC), Engro, and the Bank of Khyber. 

The concluding session of the conference was graced by President Dr Arif Alvi. 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Alvi said that we only have one life in this world. Satisfaction is the key and we should recognise that opportunity and excellence can be separated as well. He said that data is the new oil, and a great opportunity for Pakistan to utilise. However, if we do not use it to our advantage, a big opportunity would be wasted. 

The pandemic brought about a paradigm shift, so we can adapt to emerging opportunities when needed. Our youth need to find opportunities that are all around us and institutions need to help them find the door. Venture capital is everywhere and our youth need to tap it and make smart decisions, President Alvi maintained. 

The agenda of the conference for the last day included two panel sessions on Opportunities Now, and Disruptions: The Future of Work, the closing ceremony for the occasion, and the concluding session. The agenda also included a series of technical sessions where research papers on the topics of inclusive development, place and people, inclusive growth and development, financial inclusion and the enablers and constraints for start-up ecosystems were presented. 

Moderating an earlier panel discussion on ‘Opportunities Now’, Dr Durre Nayab, Director Research PIDE, expressed the view that the youth of today have lost their sense of patience and are eager to reap any benefits without putting in hard work and sweat.  

Pervez Hoodbhai expressed the view that the domain of opportunity is limited for our youth, and the reason is that the process of industrialisation has not really bloomed in Pakistan. Other countries have refined thought processes, and easily translate ideas and notions into actions. 

The education model in these countries, where critical thinking is encouraged and curiosity nurtured, far surpasses that of Pakistan. It is where we as a nation must focus. Arfa Zehra’s opinion was that education is the road leading to the destination. If the road is not good, how can one reaches the destination. 

The Conference concluded with the vote of thanks. Dr Nadeem-ul-Haq, VC PIDE, Dr Durr-e-Nayab, Joint Director PIDE, and Dr Idrees Khawaja, Secretary PSDE, thanked all the members who arranged this important event. They especially thanked Director IMSciences, Dr Mohsin Khan, and other members of the IMSciences faculty who worked tirelessly to make the conference a success.