UAE president commits to investing $10bn in Pakistan

Published May 23, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. — PTV
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. — PTV

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on Thursday committed to investing $10 billion in multiple sectors of the Pakistani economy.

A statement released by state-run Pakistan Television on social media platform X said the development came in an Abu Dhabi meeting of the UAE president with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who is on a day-long visit to the Mideast nation.

The statement added that Sheikh Mohamed “assured UAE’s support in all circumstances and made commitment of investing $10bn in multiple sectors in Pakistan”.

PM Shehbaz conveyed his gratitude to the UAE leadership for hosting the Pakistani diaspora of 1.8 million and highlighted Pakistan’s “huge human resource potential” that could be engaged in multiple sectors.

“The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss whole gamut of bilateral relations, including cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural and defence sectors. [The] prime minister underscored the importance of galvanising existing cooperation and strengthening strategic partnership, including in the field of information technology, renewable energy and tourism.

“[The] prime minister highlighted steps taken by the government aimed at ensuring socio-economic stability in the country and building investors’ confidence. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to ensure meaningful implementation of investment cooperation agreements in the areas of energy, port operations projects, wastewater treatment, food security, logistics, minerals, and banking and financial services,” the statement said.

It added that the two exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest, including regional and global developments.

PM Shehbaz also reiterated his invitation to the UAE president for an official visit to Pakistan, which Sheikh Mohamed accepted.

PM Shehbaz said he had a “very productive exchange” with the UAE president.

“Grateful to his highness for UAE’s consistent support for Pakistan. We agreed to continue working closely to further strengthen the brotherly and cooperative ties between Pakistan and UAE.”

In UAE not to seek loans but ‘collaborations, investments’

Earlier, PM Shehbaz said the aim of his day-long visit was “not to seek loans but joint collaborations and investments”.

Addressing a round table session of the IT community in Abu Dhabi, he said: “Today I am here […] not to seek loans but to seek joint collaborations and joint investments, which have mutual benefits for the investor and draw dividends through hard work, ingenuity and by using modern tools and skills.

“I want to share with you my broad parameters of our programme; we want to provide the highest quality vocational training and empower our youth with modern skills so that they can come to the UAE,” he added.

“From Pakistan, […] provide services through remote mechanisms and generate livelihoods, support SMEs, startups, and other integral activities combined with this. I’m prepared to take this risk,” PM Shehbaz asserted.

“Gone are the days when I will go to a brotherly country with a begging bowl; I have broken that bowl.”

“That bowl will lead us nowhere. When was the last time that a country prospered through aid, handouts and bowls?” he asked.

The prime minister said that in his meeting with the UAE president, he would request him to “offer your trainers to train our people”.

PM Shehbaz further expressed his “iron resolve to completely transform the economy of Pakistan in collaboration with our brothers here in UAE — be it through joint ventures, collaborations or knowledge-sharing partnerships”.

“In the short span of 2.5 months, we have transformed our IT ministry in Islamabad but there’s a long way to go,” he added. The premier noted that Pakistan’s population, almost 60 per cent of which comprised of youth, offered great potential.

The prime minister highlighted that he had “spent the last two and a half months focusing on how to promote information technology and artificial technology in various sectors of our economy”, including IT, agriculture, mines and minerals.

PM Shehbaz praised the UAE president for “carving out a way forward which will not be dependent on oil and gas but on non-oil and non-gas economy”, adding that it did so by training its youth, promoting industrial complexes and digital economy, and making the country a hub of imports and exports.

He further appreciated the UAE president for being “generous like his great father, supporting Pakistan in its most difficult times”. “We will never forget his support and generosity to Pakistan.”

State Minister for IT Shaza Fatima Khawaja also addressed the event.

Arrival in Abu Dhabi

 PM Shehbaz Sharif is greeted by UAE Vice President and Deputy PM Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as he arrives in Abu Dhabi on May 23. — PID
PM Shehbaz Sharif is greeted by UAE Vice President and Deputy PM Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as he arrives in Abu Dhabi on May 23. — PID

The premier arrived in the UAE on a day-long visit earlier today.

Upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi, the premier was welcomed by UAE Vice President and Deputy PM Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the government said in a post on X.

Pakistani Ambassador to UAE Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Emirati envoy to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Ibrahim and senior officials from both countries were also present to receive the premier, the PML-N said.

Shortly after his arrival, the prime minister described the visit as “short but important”.

“Looking forward to a fruitful exchange of views with the UAE leadership with a view to deepen the historic and brotherly PAK-UAE ties,” he said in a post on X.

This was PM Shehbaz’s first visit to the UAE since assuming his office after the February 8 general elections.

According to Radio Pakistan, PM Shehbaz had earlier today departed for the UAE along with key cabinet members, including Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar, Commerce Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi.

According to the Foreign Office (FO), PM Shehbaz was also likely to hold meetings with other Emirati dignitaries, businesspersons and heads of financial institutions.

The FO, noting that both countries had “long-standing fraternal relations deep-rooted in religio-cultural affinity”, had said that such high-level exchanges formed a “distinguishing feature” of brotherly ties between Pakistan and the UAE.

The visit marks an important step towards further deepening multifaceted bilateral collaboration between Pakistan and the UAE, the FO had highlighted.

The premier’s visit follows high-level exchanges between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the past two months, including two trips made to the kingdom in April.

Shehbaz last visited the UAE in July 2023 — during his previous term as the prime minister — to console the death of the UAE president’s brother, Sheikh Saeed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Prior to that, he made a two-day trip to the Gulf nation in January 2023 to strengthen economic, trade and investment ties with the country.

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