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What type of business leaders are best needed for Pakistan?

Initiative of Zia Chishti is a role model to broadly project Pakistan’s image

The business leaders best suited and needed in Pakistan should be like Zia Chishti, who recently took an unprecedented step to convince the foreign investors that Pakistan is a safe country to do business. He urged the investors to understand the country first to understand his company. Chishti embarked off a helicopter — skiing his way downhill in the northern snow capped peaks of Pakistan, with the aim to convince the foreign businessmen that the country that was once recalled by the renowned economist as ‘the world’s most dangerous place’ is actually safe for business. Earlier this year, Chishti gathered a group of business leaders in Pakistan from several countries including Alessandro Benetton, the owner to the iconic Italian clothing company and Guo Ping, the Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Executive Officer. He wanted to ensure the foreign business leaders that Pakistan gallantly fought and defeated all terrorist and militant groups to make the country a safer place. The initiative by Pakistan Army has boosted the confidence of companies and foreign investment is up 155 percent to $457 million in the first two months of current fiscal year. Chishti’s TRG, has moved into a larger building this year that will fit 3,000 staff in the Karachi. Last month, his artificial intelligence company – Afiniti — signed a deal with Huawei. They also have PTCL on board as their first and only customer in homeland.

Pakistan actually needs many Chishtis, who are spending their energies not only achieving an enhanced profitability target, but also on improving the negative perception about the country worldwide over security.

Pakistani business leaders must attend international business events held from time to time all round the year and must not waste the opportunities available there to bring FDI in the country. As for instance, USA Investment Summit is held in Washington and it brings the diversity of the United States together under one roof – enabling any business to find the people, the resources, and the market it needs to be successful. Participants at the first three Investment Summits have announced more than $20.6 billion in greenfield FDI into the United States since 2013. Data from FDI Markets show that these participants are responsible for more than 12 percent of all announced greenfield FDI projects in the United States from fiscal year 2013-2016. Such events provide Pakistani business leaders a good platform to explore new business opportunities by interacting with global participants.

The country needs such business leaders who could promote strong linkages between the private sectors of the country and foreign nations to establish long-term and sustainable trade and economic relations. As for instance, the strong business linkages with the US will support Pakistan’s economy by providing enhanced access to the country’s products in the US market. Such linkages will improve the country’s exports to US and the close collaboration between private sectors of both countries would be helpful in bringing latest technology and machinery to Pakistan in various fields.

The country needs a business community blessed with vision and strategic thinking. The business leaders with a vision of just personal profitability will help in growth of cartels and mafias. The businessmen who make handsome financial profits and distribute it to all rightful stakeholders and maintain ethical and professional practices are best suited to a developing country like Pakistan. In the highly competitive business environment of today’s world, the distribution of profits to all the rightful stakeholders is not properly ensured by the companies in the third world countries. Resultantly, the employees and workers are forced to go on long strikes for their rightful share.

It is worth mentioning that professional and business education can produce efficient and competent business leaders with a vision in the country. Present age is the age of emerging knowledge-based economies. Human capital and institutional capacity are considered as the essential components of a knowledge-based economy, which produces ideas and provides an impetus for growth and economic development of a country. Ground realities call for a rational and long-term planning for human and institutional development and promotion of professional education in Pakistan. Investment in professional education will provide the country the required professionals for the development of various sectors of national economy.

Take example of retailing industry in Pakistan only competent business leaders and entrepreneurs can take some key initiatives to meet the future challenges confronting the industry. With the entry of giant global retailer, the process of retail modernization may accelerate in the country. The local retailers are expanding their boundaries to compete with their larger foreign competitors. Despite security concerns, the country has witnessed an influx of foreign retail brands. It is a fact that international brands are making entry into the country’s lucrative market by opening their franchises in mega cities and towns. Certainly, the growing number of international entrants in the local market establishes this fact. The entry of foreign retail franchises into Pakistan is testament to the enhanced demand of foreign brands among local consumers. The trend of foreign retail outlets continues to expand into other products, services, and brands in the country.

Trends in the country’s retail industry are quite encouraging, as far as the development of new retail formats and the establishment of a large number of global chains’ retail outlets all across the country is concerned. The country has witnessed the mushroom growth of more and more malls, restaurants, sport complexes, multiplex cinemas, and a large number of shops in big cities. With an estimated size of the retail market at around $50 billion, the country’s retail sector is growing faster than its economy. The phenomenal growth in retail sector bodes well for the country’s economic health, as the sector can create enormous job opportunities and attract foreign investment into the country by alluring global brands to the local market. But still there is long way to go and the key decision by Pakistani entrepreneurs and professional working for national and multinational companies operating in the country will decide direction of the future growth of retailing industry.

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