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IBA conducts a webinar on ‘Trade & Development Report 2018’

A webinar was organized at the IBA Karachi by Assistant Professor and Research Fellow (CBER) Dr. Aadil Nakhoda in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The representatives from the UN office discussed the findings of the Trade and Development Report 2018 focusing on the theme of Power, Platform and the Free Trade Delusion. The presentation explained the aftermath of the global financial crisis with the world having failed to address the important macroeconomic financial weaknesses that have been underlining our global economy. The uncertainty is further exacerbated through what people all around the world are experiencing in terms of trends such as declining unemployment but slower wage growth rates, excessive asset-price inflation and volatile currency movements despite a safe financial system.

The presentation also highlighted an important dilemma stressing on ’Free Trade Delusion’ where the role of global value chains (GVCs) was discussed. Although GVCs are said to provide opportunities for inclusive growth and bring in prosperity based on the assumption that they allow developing countries to work on individual links in the chain based on their comparative advantage i.e. abundance of cheap labour. The reality is completely different as developing countries keep locked in low value-added activities, while the firms at the top of the chains located in advanced economies benefit. As a result of this, such transnational corporations have been amassing profits, while inequality keeps on growing.

Trade agreements have significantly changed in today’s era as they are no longer about free trade in fact intangible barriers to competition embedded in free trade agreements have emerged supporting the large firms. Today, the objectives of FTAs are more focused on increasing legal protection of intellectual property and also towards promotion of investment protectionism. The representatives also discussed how economic policies can be adapted to the digital world, such as investments in digital infrastructure and capabilities, regulatory and industrial policies. Furthermore, another important point was to build regional data economies as they yield substantial benefits. Lastly, the Global Green New Deal was discussed, where the focus was upon inclusive recovery through building a productive global economy on full and decent employment at liveable wages, focusing on public investments and progressive taxation.

The session ended with a Q&A session, where the audience enquired how Pakistan can benefit in this entire landscape and how its policies have changed over the years with respect to trade. The presenter highlighted that students of institutions such as IBA are the future policy and law makers hence, they have an important role to play not only on the national but also on the global level in terms of how trade policies are shaped.

Two-Day Momentum Tech Conference Successfully Concludes

The third edition of Momentum Tech Conference took place on the April 30 and May 01, 2019 at Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi, hosted hundreds of startups, workshops, hackathon, key note sessions and panel discussions on tech, digital and entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan. Participants, investors, technologists and local and global organizations were engaged to train, develop and bring forward the disruptive and innovative technologies to the world of tomorrow.

The conference spread was designed in such a way that everyone could take back something. Representatives from notable organizations including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Jazz, McKinsey were among many others who took part and addressed the challenges, these young startups face. Momentum Tech Conference 2019 was a combined effort of various Momentum’s partners including Easy Tickets for ticketing, Covalent for Fintech Hackathon, TPL E-ventures as venture capital partner, Daftarkhawan for investor management, Virtual Force for Startup 100, Radical and Impact Dynamics for conducting workshops amongst others.

Speaking at the event, Amir Jafri, Founder & CEO said, “Momentum is not just a conference or a startup competition platform. Our goal is to provide young visionaries with opportunities to learn, create and implement technological solutions for various industries using brains of different influencers, leaders and technologists.”

While multitude of activities were happening simultaneously, top ten startups from Startup 100 got to present on the main stage in front of the investors and other attendees and top three out of them were selected for prizes and other startup package benefits. However, there was a tie for third place, therefore, Haroon Kantha from Teradata Pakistan decided to give the additional sponsor money for the third place, hence, the startups that stood first, second and two third place winners in the final round were Eye Automate, GoGhoom, Edvon Robotics and Islam 360 respectively. At this point, Asif Jafri, Co-Founder, Momentum Tech Conference added, “This year is different because of the inclusion of Startup 100, product launches and experiential activities. Momentum has become an extravaganza for all the attendees and participant and we aim to plan it in a way that there remains something for everybody.”

Program Director, Sana Mela concluded on a befitting note, “Every year we’re improving and adding things to make it better and that’s how we are evolving. Our goal is to inspire future entrepreneurs, influencers and technologists to develop technologies that make a breakthrough and revolutionize the entire tech industry, not just for the benefit of tech industry but also for the country and economy of Pakistan.”

Prof. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan Conferred Leadership Awards by MAP and AAMO

The Asian Association of Management Organization (AAMO) has awarded Prof. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan with the Asian Leadership Award. This was based on the Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) awarding ’Lifetime Achievement Award’ to Prof. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, CEO, Indus Hospital Network, for his exemplary social work and lifelong humanitarian services, earlier in April at the 34th Corporate Excellence Award ceremony.

Presided by the Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, the award ceremony by AAMO was held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Salah Uddin, Executive Director, MAP, represented the Management Association of Pakistan on that occasion.

Truly a non-profit organization, the Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) believes in promoting and recognizing altruistic leadership and philanthropic services offered by leading welfare and charitable organisations and philanthropists throughout the country.

PAMH steps up efforts to destigmatize mental illness

In an event aimed towards destigmatizing mental illness, the Pakistan Association of Mental Health on Saturday brought together intellectual luminaries from various professional sectors at the Karachi Arts Council, who took part in discussions about the growing importance of mental health.

Among the panelists were Peace & Human Rights Advocate I.A. Rehman; Social Commentator & Senior Member of HRCP Ghazi Salahuddin; Karamat Ali from PILER; Distinguished Writer & Author Bina Shah; Chairperson, HUM Network, Sultana Siddiqui; Distinguished Painter Shahid Rassam; Chief Creative Officer, Spectrum VMLY&R Zohra Yusuf; and Senior Journalist Zubeida Mustafa. The panel discussion was moderated by Senior Psychologist Dr. Rubina.

Prof. Dr. Syed Haroon, President PAMH addressed the occasion, dubbing mental illnesses as a representation of the biggest economic burden of any health issue in the world, and that stigma is the biggest hindrance in the care and treatment of these disorders.

“Every second house in Karachi has one or more persons taking sleeping pills. Every fourth house has a psychiatric problem and masked depressive disorder,” said Dr. Haroon. He quoted the prevalence of mental illness in the country at 34%, adding that while the prevalence of schizophrenia was only 1%, all psychological, emotional, psychosomatic conditions and even intellectual deficit were lumped as ’dangerous mental illness’.

A Behavior Change Communication campaign regarding the same had also been launched by PAMH in collaboration with Spectrum VMLY&R, wherein the ’Story of Salman’ – a story that follows a young man’s state of mind as he is stigmatized for his mental illness – was inaugurated at the occasion. The highlights of this campaign were a life-sized wall in comic-strip style and an animated video disseminating awareness messages at the event. Participants also signed the petition wall set up at the event, showing their support for ending the stigma associated with mental health.

“It is important to give mental illness the status of a ’disease’ and break the taboo so that the sufferers do not hide in silence,” said I.A. Rehman, while Sultana Siddiqui welcomed PAMH to discuss which aspects of mental illnesses were most important to highlight in the media, and reiterated its role in facilitating widespread awareness.

Karamat Ali discussed the impacts of low wages on the mental health of employees at the workplace, while Zohra Yusuf emphasized the need to discourage the use of insensitive words used to label victims of mental illness.

The effects of sexual harassment on the mental health of women were brought up in discussion by Bina Shah, who said that many victims are often subject to societal pressures about speaking up – mostly by their professional superiors.

Ghazi Salahuddin spoke about media’s obsession with politics due to which people were not able to see the bigger picture in society. He urged the civil society to accommodate congenial spaces for mental health victims, where their problems can be discussed and overcome without the fear of stigmatization.

Pakistan is facing an alarming situation in mental health of its people – with the figure standing at 34%. PAMH is an organization working towards bringing this figure down by breaking the taboo around mental illness so people can talk about it without fear of stigmatization. Through social media and on-ground efforts, PAMH has received immense encouragement & feedback from the masses. Their Facebook page can be visited here: https://www.facebook.com/PAMH.org.pk/.

Pakistan Cables wins EFP’s ’Best Practices Award’ in Power and Utility Sector

Recently the Employees Federation of Pakistan in collaboration with International Labor Organization (ILO) organized the 13th Annual award ceremony to celebrate “International Day on Safety & Health at Work” at a local hotel in Karachi. Pakistan Cables Limited awarded the second prize for “Best Practices” in the Power and Utility sector.

The Chief Guest, Mr. Shafqat Mahmood – Federal Minister for Education & Professional Trainings distributed awards amongst the participants.

 

Nestlé … partners with Akhuwat to empower bisp beneficiaries

Nestlé Pakistan and Akhuwat have partnered to empower Nestlé’s Rural Women Sales Agents enrolled under the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). A Memorandum of Understanding was signed under which, Nestlé has provided a grant of PKR 2 million to Akhuwat to extend interest-free loans to Nestlé-affiliated BISP beneficiaries in expanding their businesses, in districts of Renala, Okara, Sheikhupura and Pindi Bhattian.

Speaking on the occasion, Freda Duplan, CEO Nestlé Pakistan, said, “Today is a big day for our Rural Women Sales Agents. The Nestlé-Akhuwat partnership will allow our Sales Agents to avail interest free micro-loan facility. It has been proven time and time again, that when women have the power to make, spend, save, and control their own money, they make gains not only for themselves but also for their families and communities.”

Nestlé’s BISP Rural Women Sales Program focuses on graduating women benefiting from BISP out-of-poverty. The program is based on Public Private Partnership thatemphasizes on creating sustainable solutions for addressing some of the key issues being faced by rural women in Pakistan such as malnutrition and lack of livelihood opportunities. It has to date graduated 500 beneficiaries and this number will increase to 5,000 in the next three to four years.

Dr Amjad Saqib, CEO Akhuwat, while sharing his views said, “We are glad to partner with Nestlé and are confident that it will enable women under Nestlé’s BISP Rural Women Sales Program scale up their entrepreneurial ventures and eventually graduate out of poverty.”

Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Pakistan, said, “Our philosophy of creating shared value (CSV) is unique and a long term approach through collective action, partnerships and support of stakeholders can generate sustainable economic value, in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

“The Nestlé-Akhuwat partnership is a transformative collaboration which will help us build rural women as social entrepreneurs with Akhuwat over the next three years and enhance Nestlé’s BISP beneficiary base,” he added.

A session on Politics of Art, Public Space and the Karachi Biennale held at the IBA

The Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts (SSLA), IBA Karachi in collaboration with the Karachi Biennale Trust conducted a panel discussion on The Politics of Art, Public Space, and the Karachi Biennale at the IBA, Karachi main campus. The session was attended by SSLA students, staff and faculty. The panel was moderated by Assistant Professor, SSLA Dr. Naveen Minai.

The panelists included Assistant Curator, Karachi Biennale 2019, Noor Ahmed; Trustee, Global Outreach Chair, Karachi Biennale Trust, Atteqa Malik; Head of Corporate Relations and Communications Department, IBA Karachi and President, Tehzeeb Foundation, Mrs. Malahat Awan; lecturer, SSLA department IBA, Palvashay Sethi.

Dr. Minai started the session by giving a brief history of global art exhibitions. “Venice Biennale of 1895 is where the idea of contemporary art exhibitions started. In the 1890s a lot was happening around the world which effected the understanding of arts and how it was perceived,” she mentioned.

Speaking about the understanding of public art and spaces and the need for the Biennale, Ms. Malik said, “At the time when the Biennale was envisioned there was a lot of trouble going on in the city and the artist community which consisted of educators, curators, writers, artists sat together and brainstormed what can be done to (counter) the then prevailing situation. We put art out of the galleries and placed it in public spaces to let the citizens engage with the art.”

Ms. Awan emphasized on the need to add more physical and intellectual avenues and spaces in Karachi where such discourses can be organized. “For a city like Karachi, we need to have a handful of auditoriums to stage theater and music. Events like the biennale or Tehzeeb festival, Karachi Literature Festival, and ThinkFestIBA Karachi are attended by people because the public likes to explore art,” she highlighted.

Talking about public intervention in public spaces, Ms. Sethi said, “Any conversation about art and public space cannot take place without having a simultaneous conversation about where and how those interventions are taking place.”

Ms. Ahmed explained that the definition of public art varies according to the nature of the public. She added, “We didn’t think about the definition of public art when we were designing the theoretical framework of the Biennale. What ultimately came down to is that we are trying to create these connections in the public realm and art would be the medium through which the connection will exist.”

She referred to the power of an art form, and its connection with the public by giving an example of Allahwali Chowrangi; even though the structure doesn’t stand today, yet people still connect to the architectural piece.

CarFirst and City Traffic Police Working Towards Making Our Roads Safer

In a bid to make our roads safer and reduce road traffic fatalities, City Traffic Police Lahore together with CarFirst, Pakistan’s most trusted used car trading platform, launched a road safety campaign #SafetySavesLives on the streets of Lahore. Nearly 15,000 people die in Pakistan every year due to road accidents, and unsurprisingly half of the percentage is comprised of those travelling on motorbikes without wearing a helmet. This campaign also supports the UN’s Global Road Safety Week and is targeted towards reaching the stand-alone target ([3.6] in the Health Goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals) of “By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.”

The City Traffic Police and CarFirst seek to engage and create awareness among the general public about the importance of maintaining road safety. Traffic Awareness Camps, Road Safety Walks involving schools, colleges and key stakeholder groups, distribution of free helmets to motorbike riders, display of a range of road safety awareness messaging, including posters, banners, streamers, along all key roads in Lahore Cantt were all a part of CarFirst and CTP’s efforts. Male and Female Traffic wardens along with the Military Police gave out thousands of road safety pamphlets to citizens.

CarFirst which has changed the way used cars are traded in Pakistan, believes that Traffic Awareness Campaigns can bring a change in our road safety. The Safety Saves Lives campaign is aimed at encouraging drivers to be the change the traffic on our roads need, by following rules set by the City Traffic Police and to take a more considerate approach towards fellow road users. CarFirst’s Pakistan Day campaign ’Halaat Badal Do’ was also centered around the same narrative of ’be the change you want to see in the world’.

Raja Murad Khan, CEO and Co-Founder of CarFirst sharing his thoughts on this campaign said ì CarFirst takes tremendous pride in joining hands with the City Traffic Police to highlight the importance of road safety. No matter what, safety should always be our first priority. I request everyone to help themselves by following traffic rules and work towards improving the safety of our roads. CarFirst echoes the efforts by the City Traffic Police Lahore in spreading awareness around how #SafetySavesLives. Whether we travel as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, users of private cars or public transport, as individuals we can #SpeakUp for road safety. We can behave safely on the road, serve as role models for others, especially young people; advocate for law enforcement and support those who work tirelessly in making our roads safer.”

CTO Lahore Capt (R) Liaqat Ali Malik speaking the press about this campaign said “By knowing the rules of the road, practicing good driving skills and generally taking care as a road user, you help play a vital role in preventing a crash.”

LSTW Incharge Education Unit CTPL Nazia Baqir has also said “Traffic rules are designed to protect you and other drivers on the road. If we do not follow them, we are not only putting ourselves at risk but also innocent bystanders and drivers.”

Al Baraka signs MoU with Indus Motors

In a pact that formed the strategic alliance of Al Baraka Bank Pakistan Limited and Indus Motor Company Limited on Tuesday, both companies agreed to facilitate exclusive financing for consumers on high-priced Toyota vehicles.

The signing ceremony took place in Al Baraka’s Head Office, and was attended by senior officials from both companies – including Abdul Rab, Senior General Manager; Syed Omar, General Manager; Syed Shariq, Deputy Manager and Hamza Faisal, Assistant Manager from Indus Motor Company. Representatives from Al Baraka included Akif Imtiaz, Head of Consumer Finance; Syed Farhan Ahmed, Head of Consumer Credit and Jafar Ali Khan, Head of Assets Product Management.

As part of the MoU, it was decided that Al Baraka Bank would offer exclusive discounted Profit Rates and Takaful Rates to customers purchasing high-value Toyota vehicles above PKR 40 lacs. Customers can now visit any Al Baraka branch or authorized Toyota dealer to avail Al Baraka’s exclusive offer, valid until June 30, 2019.

Officials from both companies lauded the step to make high-value vehicles easily accessible, and expressed positive sentiments on the occasion. “Through this partnership, customers of both companies will greatly benefit,” said Akif Imtiaz.

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Ltd is part of Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C. (ABG), which is licensed as an Islamic wholesale bank by the Central Bank of Bahrain and is listed on Bahrain Bourse and NasdaqDubai. ABG is a leading international Islamic banking group with a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking units and representative offices in 17 countries and over 697 branches.

In addition to Pakistan, Al Baraka Banking Group has operations in Jordan, Egypt, Tunis, Bahrain, Sudan, Turkey, South Africa, Algeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco and Germany, Iraq and two representative offices in Indonesia and Libya.

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