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ALHUDA CIBE and Center Of Excellence in Islamic Finance to promote Islamic Finance sign MoU

Islamic finance, the globally emerging phenomenon is captivated its roots in Muslim, European countries and in America as well. The built-in features of sustainability and best alternative financial solution make this phenomenon prominent and attracts the attention of professionals and researchers. Keeping in view the importance, AlHuda CIBE FZ LLE, Dubai-UAE and Center of Excellence in Islamic Finance (CEIF), Institute of Management Sciences (IM Sciences), Peshawar- Pakistan have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Mr. Zubair Mughal, the CEO of AlHuda CIBE said that Islamic finance is not only the interest of Muslim population rather non-Muslims are taking keen interest to learn and implement it. There are various non-Muslim countries where Islamic banking and finance is providing their customers state-of-the-art services above all religious differences. He added that according to this MoU, both organizations will work together to strengthen the abilities of Islamic banking and finance and to provide joint training, research activities and consultancies and other services. He said that AlHuda CIBE is keeping an eye on Islamic banking and finance.

He also added that, we will pool our expertise and resources to achieve the optimum goal of promotion of Islamic banking and finance in our targeted countries. This step will surely benefit Islamic banking and finance in the field of capacity building. Mr. Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda CIBE, stated that, Islamic finance is a recognized tool of financial inclusion which ultimately enhance the economic activity and bring the prosperity to uplift the living standards of the population.

In implementation of the MoU signed between the Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance (CEIF), Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar and AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking & Economics (CIBE) UAE on 18th July, 2019, both parties agreed to conduct joint trainings, research and consultancies on Islamic banking and finance at different parts of the world. CEIF IMSciences is a research and training Centre established by the State Bank of Pakistan for the promotion of Islamic banking and finance in the region. This MoU is part of the CEIF IMSciences overall efforts to support the best Islamic finance education, research, and practices through a full range of high quality educational programs, publishing the award winning and globally impactful books, scholarly papers, research led consultancy, and trainings to the practitioners and faculty from the leading Islamic finance countries, including Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK and Pakistan.

ACCA focuses on building future-ready talent and bridging academia and industry gap

ACCA organised a two-day workshop and recognition ceremonies for the position holders in matric and intermediate examinations of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Peshawar. Featuring prominent corporate leaders and academicians, the workshops focused on following themes: ‘Power of Connections – Enabling the future’ and ‘Power of Connections from: Education to work-readiness’.

The aim of the event was to recognise and motivate the position holders and their parents and to create awareness on the importance of building connections and developing modern skills to future-proof careers. The ceremony was attended by position holders, parents, ACCA members, ACCA’s Approved Learning Partners and senior profiles from leading employers.

The conversation leaders who spoke on the first day of the event shared their valuable inputs on the importance of connections in building a successful career. Sher Muhammad, Group Head – HR, The Bank of Khyber, Nabeela Afridi, Manager – Women Entrepreneurship Development, SMEDA, Saad Bashir, Associate Consultant, PwC Bangladesh, Suniel Jamil, Group General Manager Zakori Group of Industries and Afrasiab Ahsan Nawab, Head of Business Development – North ACCA Pakistan were among the speakers.

On the day 02 of the event, leaders shared their insights on the theme ‘Power of Connections – Education to work-readiness’. Dr. Raza Ullah, Assistant professor and Coordinator Academia – Employer Linkage, Islamia College University Peshawar, Yawar Muhammad, Director Tax, Rafaqat Babar & Co. and Saad Bashir, Associate Consultant, PwC Bangladesh shared their opinions on how to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Asad Malik Mahmood, Business Development Manager – Peshawar, ACCA shared his thought process on power of Connections in today’s evolving world which has a key impact on our professional and personal lives. He emphasised that the events like these reflect ACCA’s commitment towards advancing the public interest and building future-ready talent.

The Professionals’ Academy of Commerce (PAC) and SKANS School of Accountancy also supported ACCA with the ceremony.

JS Global Capital successfully holds fourth edition of ‘Pakistan Investment Conference 2019’ in US

JS Global Capital Limited (JSGCL), Pakistan’s leading equity brokerage and investment banking firm is proud to announce that it has once again taken the lead and successfully hosted the fourth edition of its annual event, titled “Pakistan Investment Conference – 2019” (PIC 2019) during 4-6 September, 2019 in the US. This mega event, held annually, is designed with the aim to attract foreign direct and portfolio investment to Pakistan and present a true image of the country to the international community. Further, through policy level engagement, the business delegation aimed to lobby for better access and improvement in economic ties.

The high-powered delegation for the event led by the Honourable Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail, H.E. included Ambassador at Large for Investment – Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, Member Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) Khalid Mansoor, CEO Pakistan Business Council Ehsan Malik and JSGCL CEO Kamran Nasir. Also accompanying the delegation were top level management of leading local corporations comprising roughly one-third of the market capitalization of the benchmark KSE-100 index. The event commenced on September 4 in Washington, D.C. at the US Department of State, where Alice G. Wells, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia was present along with members from the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and Bureau of Energy Resources, in addition to prominent members of US Trade Representative, US Trade and Development Agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation and USAID. Ambassador Wells reiterated President Trump’s statement of the huge trade potential between the two countries. She also lauded Pakistan’s efforts in successfully overcoming FATF related challenges.

The Honourable Governor Sindh mentioned the paradigm shift in Pakistan in terms of increased documentation in the economy and structural reforms being implemented. He also brought to the attention of the audience the humanitarian crisis and atrocities being committed by India in Indian Occupied Kashmir and urged the international community to take strong action. Ambassador Ali Jehangir Siddiqui spoke at length over how Pakistan is and has improved in terms of positioning itself to become an attractive investment destination and cited various measures that are reflective of Governments resolve to make Pakistan a rising star in the region. Ambassador Siddiqui also highlighted the policy level changes that have been brought by the Government to improve the overall business climate in Pakistan. Mr. Kamran Nasir highlighted the various sectors offering high potential for increase in trade and investment in the near future between both countries. At the Pakistan Embassy, the Ambassador, H.E. Dr Asad Majeed Khan stressed the improving relations between Pakistan and the US.

The Honourable Governor Sindh expressed his gratitude and highlighted the seriousness of Pakistan’s efforts in improving economic relations with US. He also emphasized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for the country and how seriously Pakistan is now progressing towards becoming a stronger economy. The delegation was next hosted by Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director of the Asia Program and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center. During the discussions, Mr Ali Jahangir Siddiqui highlighted the opportunities available for US companies under the CPEC program and also mentioned the efforts being made in improving Pakistan’s position in terms of Ease of Doing Business. Mr Ehsan Malik elaborated on Pakistan’s facilitation of SEZs and discussed how MNCs have been successfully operating in Pakistan. Mr Khalid Mansoor spoke eloquently on how Pakistan has overcome its energy shortfall. During these discussions, the Governor Sindh underlined Pakistan’s relations with its neighbouring countries and emphasized that the global community should take serious note of the human rights violation in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

On the second day, the delegation was hosted by Esperanza Gomez Jelalian, Executive Director Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce and President of the US-Pakistan Business Council. She shared with the audience that efforts are in process to encourage the US business community to benefit from investing in Pakistan. The Governor Sindh mentioned how the improvement in law and order situation, rising incomes and urbanization makes Pakistan attractive for FMCG companies in particular. Mr. Kamran Nasir also invited the US Pak Business Council to bring a delegation of investors from the US SME sector to Pakistan. The need to convert such meetings into action was emphasized by working together on specific opportunities in the near future. The meeting with USAID was hosted by USAID Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs (OAPA) Deputy Assistant Administrator (DAA) Kevin Brownawell, who elaborated on USAID assistance to Pakistan. USAID E3 DAA Karl Fickenscher explained USAID’s private sector engagement strategy for Pakistan.

The Pakistani delegation members invited USAID to deploy its expertise in areas where it had successfully done so in other countries. Moreover, perennial issues in Pakistan such as water shortage and waste management were highlighted. The growing market for digitization was also underlined as a prime area for investment. On the third and final day, the delegation travelled to New York, where JSGCL along with its US partner – and one of the leading global institutional brokerage and advisory firms – Rosenblatt Securities Inc., arranged exclusive meetings between senior management of Pakistani corporations and large global fund managers. The delegation included Presidents/CEOs and CFOs of Pakistan’s top notch companies including Habib Bank Ltd (HBL), Engro Corporation (ENGRO), Hub Power Company (HUBC), United Bank Limited (UBL), MCB Bank Limited (MCB), Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd (OGDC), Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL), Pakistan State Oil Company Ltd (PSO), DG Khan Cement (DGKC), The Searle Company Ltd (SEARLE), AGP Limited (AGP). Whereas among unlisted companies was Airlink Corporation. As always, JSGCL is proud and humbled to be a part of such initiatives that seek to improve Pakistan’s image in the international community and benefit the country economically. JSGCL would also like to thank all the local and foreign participants and partners who played a massive role in making this event a huge success. Pakistan Zindabad!

NdcTech wins 2019 Temenos best implementation award – Middle East

NdcTech, a regional IT service provider of mission critical and strategic Core and Digital Banking solutions for banks and FI’s, has won the “Best Implementation of the Year Award – Middle East 2019” at the Temenos MEA Sales and Partner Summit, held recently in Dubai, UAE.

In accepting the award, Ammara Masood, NdcTech CEO commented: “We are thrilled and honored to have been recognized among our fellow regional and global partners. We couldn’t have achieved this feat without the continued support of our customers and the relentless pursuit by Temenos for discovering the best in class companies to encourage our efforts. Finally we would like to thank the extended team who worked on this large transformation program from NdcTech to make it worthy.”

Jean-Paul Mergeai, Managing Director (MEA) at Temenos congratulated NdcTech on winning the award: “This award is especially dedicated for the excellence of implementation of the Khushhali Bank Project (the largest inclusive banking institution in Pakistan). NdcTech has been involved with us from sales to delivery of the project and has done a fantastic job in delivering the solution in a record time for this bank. NdcTech is also very focused and shown great results in delivering conventional and Islamic Banking. Congratulations to the team.”

Ivan Van Bladel, Director Partners & Alliances (MEA) at Temenos commented: “It is a real pleasure working with NdcTech both as a sales partner and a services partner in the region. Through this successful implementation NdcTech has once more demonstrated the value of continuous training and certification of their consultants to stay in sync with the ever expanding Temenos solution suites.”

Standard Chartered Bank expands ‘goal’ in Islamabad

Expanding the programme from Karachi to Islamabad, Goal aims to empower girls through a combination of sports and life skills

Standard Chartered Bank announced recently the launch of it’s Goal programme in Islamabad, in collaboration with non-profit business partner Right To Play. Together, both entities will implement sports and life skills training to empower and equip young girls with the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to be integral economic leaders in their families, communities and societies.

Goal was launched in Karachi in 2016 and since it’s launch, the Bank has impacted more than 11,000 adolescent girls’ lives in Pakistan.

Goal is Standard Chartered’s leading education programme that provides financial literacy, life skills and employability training to young girls across its footprint.

Several studies have shown that investment in girls positively affects GDP growth rates. A World Bank study in 1999 demonstrates that increasing the secondary education of girls by 1 per cent results in an annual income increase of 0.3 per cent per capita.

Educating girls and giving them the tools to shape their own future has an incredible multiplier effect on economic growth. It leads to increased prosperity not just for individuals but for their communities and their societies. It provides returns for decades.

Commenting on the launch Mr. Shazad Dada, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan said: “I am proud to announce the expansion of Goal to another city in Pakistan. There is massive hidden potential waiting to be unlocked for girls across the country. By expanding the reach of our Goal programme to Islamabad, we will be able to cater to even more girls and young women. We hope to provide them with the right tools and knowledge to make informed choices as they move into adulthood, and to empower them to be more active economic participants in their communities.”

What makes Goal unique is it’s play rather than classroom-based methodology to get the curriculum messages across. It is also, leveraging sports as a dynamic and healthy platform. The physical activities generate fun and help girls remember what they have learnt while giving them a break from the stresses of home life.

“Play is an essential part of learning and should be a regular part of our schools. It keeps the children connected with the school in a positive way and sports and play has the ability to teach essential life skills such as team work, confidence, critical thinking and decision making, which are critical for children’s holistic development. Goal gives us this incredible platform to take our play based methodology to schools and educate and empower so many adolescent girls,” the Country Director of Right To Play, Iqbal Jatoi shared.

Goal’s training curriculum is based on five modules: ‘Be Money Savvy’ focuses on financial education (how to save, invest and open a bank account); ‘Be Yourself’ imparts effective communication skills; ‘Be Healthy’ builds knowledge on health and hygiene; ‘Be Empowered’ teaches girls how to be confident, authentic and stand up for their rights; and ‘Be Independent’ focuses on providing vocational training to girls to enable them to be financially empowered.

Public sector finance professionals seek more radical future, find global research but challenges lie ahead

The public sector’s image as a place where little or no innovation happens is challenged in a global research report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), Innovation in public finance. The report reveals that 91% of public sector respondents said some kind of innovation was happening in their organisation, with slightly less – 90% – in the private sector claiming this was the case.

Some 4,436 ACCA members from Pakistan and other 141 countries took part in the survey, with online panel discussions with 89 members across 32 countries. The level of innovation was measured across three areas: people-based, data and technology, and process innovation, with the report aiming to investigate what kind of innovation is taking place in public finance, while also looking ahead to future challenges.

The respondents’ insights reveal a public sector that is innovating incrementally. But when asked what type of innovation is required to meet today’s complex challenges, finance professionals believe governments need to embrace more radical forms of innovation.

The research includes various global case examples of emerging practices in Public Sector innovation, with special focus on the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA). The research highlights PRA’s proactive approach to improving efficiency, placing importance on plugging leakages in the system and becoming a ‘smart’, automated organisation.

Alex Metcalfe, public sector expert at ACCA and author of the report comments: ‘The findings show that innovation in the public sector is broadly incremental, and not radical or transformative innovation. But with considerable challenges facing the public sector – from budget reductions to talent shortages – our respondents said a more radical approach is needed in the future. Their clear message is that governments need to shift from the current dominance of incremental innovation to more radical reforms.’

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA (The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), writes in the foreword: ‘This report dispels the lazy myth that the public sector is adverse to innovation. The future is unpredictable. Leaders – whether of nations or cities – need to be able to experiment and adapt. At the RSA we advocate ‘thinking like a system and acting like an entrepreneur’. Change can come from anywhere in a system, but transformation means the ability continuously to experiment and adapt.

“We need leaders whose understanding of our challenges and whose determination to make a difference is such that they will openly embark on a journey without knowing where it will end. Any leader who claims to be doing this without often feeling disorientated and vulnerable is deluding themselves. Ultimately, however, as many of those who responded to the ACCA’s survey recognised, aiming for transformation may be less risky than hoping it can be avoided.”

Recommendations for change

The top three findings in the report also offer recommendations for change:

1- Public finance professionals believe that governments need to shift from the current dominance of incremental innovation to more radical forms of innovation.

This means that policymakers and public sector leaders should share a vision and strategic direction, allowing staff to understand how the organisation can proactively address the complex challenges it faces.

2- The finance function has a critical role to play in the wider public sector innovation process.

Public finance professionals should apply the concepts of integrated thinking and value creation through multiple forms of ‘capital’ to help in the construction and assessment of business cases for innovation.

3- It is through the power of connections that public finance functions will be able to realise fully the desired shift to more radical forms of innovation.

Public finance professionals should work with finance business partners to connect across the organisation and help shape a culture of innovation.

The report explains that there are three public sector specific challenges for radical innovation:

– Maintaining a stable environment while innovating – bringing new idea to life can be disruptive, and this is a risk for public services that often serve the most disadvantaged in society;

– First-mover disadvantage – where the public sector has the disadvantage of organisation-specific risk, combined with potential system-wide benefits;

– And the challenge of diffusion and the need to spread innovation effectively – since innovation can often be context-specific and competitive forces do not comparably operate in the public sector to spur widespread adoption of successful innovations.

Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan adds: “Unlike the private sector, moving to radical innovation for the public sector is a challenge in itself – stability has to be sustained. This is a double-bind for the public sector innovator. With the public sector, first-mover advantages do not apply, not just because of the lack of traditional market pressures, but also due to the need to manage risk while trying to scale-up innovation.”

Respondents were asked to rank ‘what are the main challenges for your organisation that require innovation?’ Skills and talent were ranked as a concern for 54% of the private sector, compared to 60% of the public. Budget reductions concerned 61% of the private sector, compared to 57% of the public sector. The biggest difference between public and private sectors came in the challenge of sustaining trust – with 40% of the public sector saying this was an issue compared to just 9% of the private sector respondents.

The report ends with an assertion that nurturing innovation is collaborative. Alex Metcalfe concludes: “ACCA believes that innovation is not just for entrepreneurs and ‘rule-breakers’. It takes team work to innovate, people with a diverse range of perspectives and skills who can meet the challenges of radical innovation. This is the wider innovation ecosystem, the web of connections, skills, information, perspectives and insights, and where public finance professionals play a role as key enablers and supporters of change.”

DFID Pakistan head Joanna Reid, lawmakers visit Siyani Sahelian program in Bahawalpur

Joanna Reid, Head of Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan, along with four members of Parliament took stock of the Siyani Sahelian Second Chance Program designed for Girls Education in Bahawalpur Pakistan on September 4.

Pakistan has made 12 years of education a fundamental constitutional right under Article 25 A and is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and SDG 4 on education, skills and literacy. However, it still faces the challenge of 22.8 million out of school children and those enrolled in school not receiving adequate learning. Girls remain more deprived than boys across Pakistan, needing urgent action. Therefore, it is critical to have decision makers visit programs that are addressing these challenges to access eduction quality and are showing early outcomes that can be scaled up across the country.

Maryam, Farah and Iqra shared the misfortune of being drop outs from grades 5, 8 and 9 due to various reasons such as poverty, inaccessible distances to school and early marriage, swelling the numbers of out of school children in Pakistan. However, in August 2018, their fortunes turned when the Siyani Sahelian (Advancing Action for Adolescent Girls) second chance program was launched by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), a civil society organization known for its nationwide citizen led campaign on students learning outcomes ASER that influences policies and plans on education for quality learning.

Siyani Sahelian (SS) is a two year pilot program for 22,000 girls aged between 9-19 years, funded by DFID in Punjab. It caters to girls who are not in school (drop out or never enrolled) in Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Muzzafargarh districts where gender challenges are also very daunting.

Punjab has 10.5 million children out of school (5-16 years) majority of whom are aged above in post primary grades. In less than 14 months, 16,500 beneficiaries have been reached-nearly 75% of the target through robust and successful interventions focusing on accelerated learning.

To take stock of the program and be inspired by its early successes, Joanna Reid Head of DFID Pakistan, along with Standing Committee on Education Chairperson Aisha Nawaz Chaudhry and four other lawmakers, including Member National Assembly from Bahawalpur Mian Najeebuddin Awaisi, Punjab Minister for Food Sami Ullah Chaudhary, Member of the Punjab Assembly Ehsan Ul Haq and representative from Department of NFE & Literacy Zahid Nazir Khan visited the SS hub in Bahawalpur.

They witnessed the entire program interventions with holistic inter-sectoral approach and innovative partnerships. The program combines accelerated academics with ICTs, health, menstrual hygiene, life skills, vocational training/entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment supported by caring mentors. Among the beneficiaries who have participated in the program thus far, 7000 girls aged 9-14 have completed their catch up literacy program, approximately 1000+ girls have acquired certified vocational skills, more than 14,000 girls have participated in an organized life skills-based education program.

To test technology enabled learning, 7000 students have been exposed to lessons on tablets and 60 to online learning for grade 9 science subjects-contrary to myths that girls in deprived areas cannot learn through technologies.

The visiting dignitaries witnessed and heard these voices promising to do much more for girls education and continue with the program that has brought hope with strong outcomes.


ALHUDA CIBE to hold 6th African Islamic Finance Summit in Tanzania

Africa is new destination for Islamic finance and to attract FDI in the country: M. Zubair Mughal, CEO, AlHuda CIBE

AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) is honored to organize 6th African Islamic Finance Summit in Tanzania. The event is successfully held for many years in Tanzania for the betterment of the socio-economic conditions of the rural and urban areas of the country. It will be held at Hyatt Regency – The Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on September 24 to 25, 2019. The summit will be followed by Post Event Workshops on Operational Aspects of Islamic Banking and Takaful on September 26 and 27, 2019. More than 15 international speakers would give their valuable contribution in the topics of discussion.

The banking and financial industry of Tanzania and the surrounding areas will actively participate in the conference to gain ample knowledge of the Islamic financial sector and solutions to the escalating problems of the society. The event is supported by SPM Consulting and London School of Modern Studies and there are many supports in queue. Sponsors of the event include Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Amana Bank, International Trunkey System (ITS). The event will be inaugurated by the esteemed chief guest H.E Dr. Ashau K. Kijaji (MP) Deputy Minister from the Ministry of Finance. Participants are high profile personnel for 20 countries e.g. from central banks, banking and financial sectors of Tanzania and rest of the African countries, microfinance and insurance industry.

Mr. M. Zubair Mughal, CEO, AlHuda CIBE (the organizers of the event) thanked the supporters and the sponsors in advance for their continuous trust on them and the unprecedented support for the event that is much needed to achieve the milestone. Tanzania has a largely rural population, which makes access to financial services a challenge and digital solutions ideal. The World Bank reports 70% of the population resides in rural areas, and FI data shows that less than one-third (29%) of the rural population have active accounts (used in the last 90 days), whereas urban citizens are twice as likely to have actives accounts (61%). Approximately 76% of Tanzanians live on less than $2 per day, with three-quarters of Tanzanians employed in the agriculture sector, according to World Bank data. Making gains among these groups is key to improving Tanzanians’ financial lives. He said that Islamic banking and finance is the best alternative to change the lives of the poor. Investing in Islamic Banking and Finance could mean greater foreign investment that could result in enhanced global connectivity, improved job creation, socio-economic development and poverty alleviation.

The main objectives of the summit include e.g. recognizing significant developments in Islamic Financial Infrastructure of Africa, linkages of African Islamic Finance industry with international financial market, demonstration of the flexibility of Islamic Financial markets during recent financial crisis, share the best practices of the international Islamic banking market with African Islamic Finance Industry, assessing innovations in Islamic financial markets through the growth of newly developed research based products etc. The event is open for the public with very nominal entrance fee. It is highly recommended that more and more organizations, companies and banks join the summit in order to gain the maximum benefit from this international event in Tanzania.

Pakistan participation in ClimateLaunchpad program along with 50+ countries

Final round of stimulus-ClimateLaunchpad green business ideas competition held

The final round of Stimulus-ClimateLaunchpad green business ideas competition with a primary focus on identifying climate change solutions, was held in Karachi on August 31. The competition attracted 100 clean-tech entrepreneurs from across the country who submitted their applications and the top 20 teams competed to determine two best teams that will represent Pakistan at the Global Final competition later this year.

ClimateLaunchpad is the world’s largest green business ideas competition with the mission to unlock the world’s clean-tech potential that addresses climate change. Pakistan is participating for the first time in the ClimateLaunchpad program along with 50+ countries.

Startup Name to be inserted from city name to be inserted won Stimulus-ClimateLaunchpad Pakistan’s first edition. One line about the idea needs to be inserted. Second prize winner is startup name from city name; about idea inserted here. Startup name inserted from city name came in third with their idea to insert one line about idea.

Hira Wajahat, National Lead ClimateLaunchpad Pakistan: “With the first edition of the ClimateLaunchpad competition in Pakistan, it is clear that climate change challenges offer massive business opportunity. Over 100 clean-tech entrepreneurs submitted their ideas and the top 20 have presented their business pitch today. We are excited about these entrepreneurs finding commercial, scalable solutions in a variety of market segments and getting ready for global impact.

Parallel to the ClimateLaunchpad Pakistan Final, Stimulus organized the Pakistan Clean-Tech Innovation Conference that hosted a number of distinguished business leaders to deliberate critical climate concepts that have a direct impact on Pakistan’s economy and its national well-being. Speakers from various industries shared their experiences and thoughts on steps that need to be taken to overcome these challenges.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Malik Amin Aslam, Federal Minister and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change said that: “Pakistan’s takes its role seriously as a responsible member of the global community in combating climate change. The Ministry of Climate Change is giving due importance to mitigation efforts in sectors such as mobility and transport, forestry, industries, energy, urban planning, agriculture and livestock etc. And these efforts require innovation – new ways of thinking about old problems, and invention – new solutions to existing challenges.”

He also stated that “It is very encouraging to see efforts of organizations like Stimulus supporting programmes such as ClimateLaunchpad to introduce and promote business start-ups in the country through green-business and clean-tech innovation.”

Mr Noman Hasan, Executive Director, Lucky Cement spoke about various initiatives undertaken by Lucky Cement for climate change mitigation: “We place the promotion of environmental sustainability at the highest echelon among our business practices. Signing up with ClimateLaunchpad Pakistan was another significant way for Lucky Cement to lead the way for climate change mitigation efforts outside our immediate business environment. Lucky Cement is committed to enhancing the local economy by supporting home grown entrepreneurs and innovation. We hope to stimulate others present here today to take similar leaps of faith in their professional and personal capacities so that we may all collectively realize the promise of a greener future for Pakistan.”

Mr Habib Haider, Head of External Relations at Shell Pakistan spoke about “The transition to lower-carbon energy will feature enormous change in the types of products and services Pakistani consumers need. This competition is the perfect example of how we can achieve the shift to a lower-carbon future by bringing together the entrepreneurial innovative needed for this change. The challenge of tackling climate change can only be met through unprecedented collaboration.

We welcome efforts made by government of Pakistan and organizations like Stimulus, the local partner of Climate Launchpad, to collaboratively work towards supporting long-term climate goals that balance environmental pressures with development opportunities.”

Stimulus is an innovative consulting firm that intends to create awareness, symmetry, engagement and impact via the government, foreign missions and most significantly with the private sector to develop a clean technology/renewables eco-system for Pakistan. For this reason, Stimulus has also signed up with the Ministry of Climate Change for the Prime Minister’s Clean Green Pakistan Initiative.

British Pakistani businessman and bestway group Chief Executive, Zameer Choudrey CB appointed to the house of lords

It has been announced that Zameer Choudrey CBE, Chief Executive of Bestway Group, appointed to the House of Lords under the Queens intention of conferring Peerages of the United Kingdom.

Choudrey comments: “It is an immense honour. I am truly humbled to have been appointed to the House of Lords. I have always viewed the UK to be the land of opportunity and I look forward to contributing to the continued advancement of our great country.”

The appointment is in recognition of his considerable contributions to Britain’s domestic and foreign trade as a leading businessman and entrepreneur, his wide array of philanthropic work both in the UK and abroad, and his role as Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan.

As Chief Executive of Bestway Group, Choudrey has already driven tremendous growth in businesses across the UK and Pakistan. This led to Choudrey being appointed to Deputy Chairman of the Pakistan Britain Trade & Investment Forum and serving as a member of the Confederation of British Industry’s Economic Affairs Committee in previous years.

He has also regularly been asked to facilitate private government visits to both Pakistan and the UK for senior government officials from both countries, including the Mayors of London and the West Midlands, and private investors, to discuss how both the UK and Pakistan can look to increase trade and investment. These strong ties with Pakistan will mean Choudrey will be looking to utilise his vast experience to build more bilateral trade, create more jobs here in the UK and improve foreign relations between our two countries.

Choudrey comes from humble beginnings having grown up in a remote village in Pakistan, before moving to the UK at the age of 12. His remarkable success over his career led to him being appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for services to industry and philanthropy. He also sits as a trustee for several national charities, including CrimeStoppers, Grocery Aid and Bestway Foundation, which has donated over £30 million to worthy education and healthcare causes. In January 2018, he was appointed as UK Chair of the British Asian Trust’s Advisory Council, by HRH The Prince of Wales.

In his role as Chief Executive of Bestway Group, Choudrey has overseen the growth of the Group into one of the UK’s largest family owned businesses, which employs over 27,000 people worldwide. In the UK, Bestway Group currently provides employment for 15,000 people.

Under Choudrey’s stewardship, Bestway Group has become the largest British investor and philanthropic contributor in Pakistan, and gained recognition from the President of Pakistan in 2018, with a prestigious Pakistani civil award, the ‘Sitara-e-Imtiaz’ (Star of Excellence).

Choudrey will look to draw on his keen understanding of entrepreneurship, supporting SMEs and his understanding of the challenges faced on the high street. And with the business’ acquisition of Well Pharmacy in 2014, the third largest pharmacy chain in the UK, Choudrey is well positioned to advise on community welfare and healthcare too.

In addition to the UK businesses, Choudrey has spearheaded tremendous growth and investment abroad with the two arms of Bestway Group that operate in Pakistan – United Bank Limited, the 2nd largest private bank in Pakistan and Bestway Cement, Pakistan’s largest cement manufacturer. The success of these businesses has shown him to have an astute understanding of the financial services sector, as well as of infrastructure and foreign trade.

SSGC observes defense day as Kashmir solidarity day

On the call of the Government of Pakistan, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) commemorated the Pakistan Defense Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day by organizing an all-day event to present the message to the families of martyrs and the people of Kashmir that they stand with them. The day comprised of multiple activities which were spread out throughout the day. The Company’s Corporate Communication Department took the lead in organizing the activities.

At exactly 12:30 noon, the Company executives and staff led by DMDs Imran Farookhi and M. Amin Rajput converged at the Head Office podium to hoist the national flag while everyone present sang in unison. The flag hoisting was followed by Dua for the martyrs and for the success of Kashmiri cause. Throughout the day, an SMD erected just outside the main gate of the building screened in-house developed videos honouring the heroes who laid down their lives for Pakistan. National songs too played on in the giant screen. After the Jumma prayers, Quran Khawani was also arranged to pray for male and female employees for the departed souls.

During the day, the Company employees also visited homes of martyrs where they met with the families of the heroes who defended their borders against the enemy aggression and in the process embraced martyrdom.

Jazz and USF to bridge the digital divide in South Waziristan

Continuing its partnership with Jazz for developing cellular access in underserved regions, the Universal Service Fund (USF) has awarded a new contract worth PKR 90 million to Pakistan’s leading digital communications company. This contract has been awarded under the Broadband for Sustainable Development Project in South Waziristan. For this purpose, a signing ceremony took place between USF CEO Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary and Jazz Chief Corporate and Enterprise Officer Syed Ali Naseer. Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Federal Minister for IT &Telecom, was the Chief Guest at the occasion.

As part of the deal, Jazz will work towards providing cellular access to people of South Waziristan. The idea is to provide reliable and cheap cellular services across the country, particularly in the remote areas.

Speaking at the ceremony, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui stated that USF had launched multiple projects for the socio-economic uplift of people living in the unserved and underserved areas of Pakistan. He added that in order to take this further, USF would now be paying special focus on empowering the people of South Waziristan through its projects. He highlighted that unfortunately the locals in South Waziristan had been victims of terrorism in the past and now deserved all the opportunities they were not able to avail earlier. He informed the audience that through this project services would be provided to a population of 0.64 million people in 411 Muzas. He also congratulated the teams of USF and Jazz for doing such an incredible job and for achieving this landmark.

Also speaking at the ceremony, CEO-USF informed that all these achievements made by USF had only been possible due to the constant efforts of the Government of Pakistan. He added that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, MoIT Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and USF Board of Directors had been torchbearers of the vision for a “Digital Pakistan” and had enabled USF to transform the lives of people of the country. He further said that they had given USF tremendous cooperation, help and support, without which all this could not be achieved.

Talking about this initiative, Syed Ali Naseer said, “Our collaboration with USF is in line with our agenda of bridging the prevalent digital divide. This is why the project has special significance for us and in due time over 0.64 million residents of these areas will have access to the country’s fastest mobile services. Jazz is looking forward to assisting these people in unlocking their potential in an increasingly interconnected world.”

To complete this project, Jazz will help bridge the gap between the urban and rural divide by providing modern services to people of 411 unserved Mauzas at their door steps.

In February of this year, USF awarded a contract worth PKR 192 million to Jazz for providing cellular services to people of North Waziristan District, Frontier Region Bannu and Frontier Region Lakki Marwat.

Pakistani start-up Greenovation shortlisted for shell global innovation prize

Greenovation, a Shell Tameer alumnus from Pakistan, producing clean energy from recycled plastic waste has been shortlisted among 21 finalists for the Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards, a global competition which highlights and rewards businesses that demonstrate excellence in innovation as well as giving entrepreneurs a chance to shine on a global platform. In total, 98 applications were received from 19 countries.

This year, Shell LiveWIRE has partnered with Global Commercial, which serves one million business customers in 150 markets, to deliver a competition focused on the circular economy. Shell is looking to reward entrepreneurs that help move the world away from the linear economy model – taking, using, and disposing of products – and towards an economy that designs waste out of the system.

Winners and two runners up will be named in the categories of Food & Agriculture, Energy & Mobility, and Sustainable Future, with the winners receiving $20,000 USD and runners up receiving $10,000 USD. In addition, Shell LiveWIRE will name an Outstanding Achievement Award winner who will receive $10,000 USD. All Top Ten Innovators will win direct mentoring from Shell staff and the opportunity to integrate and benefit from vast linkages within Shell’s global network.

“We’re inspired to see these 21 finalists from around the world whose businesses work towards providing circular solutions that help to achieve zero waste,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Vice President of Shell Global Commercial. Transitioning to a circular economy can help protect the environment and deliver positive change to society. Working with innovators like these esteemed finalists, will allow businesses, communities and society to move faster towards achieving these goals.”

Public voting is open from September 9-18 and will help determine the ten winners. Please go to https://www.livewire.shell/topteninnovators to vote for your favourite business. The ranking of the Top Ten, determined by an expert panel of judges, will be announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019.

“We’re thrilled to see a young energy innovator, Greenovation, from Pakistan competing for the Top Ten Innovators. This is a great opportunity not only to highlight this entrepreneur but also a chance to showcase the talent and innovation we see every day across Pakistan. We encourage everyone to vote for Greenovation in the public vote.”

Greenovation, shortlisted under the category “Sustainable Future”, addressing climate change by converting plastic waste into liquid Petroleum Gas.

Flava supports Gilgit-Baltistan girls football league

Haleeb Foods, one of the leading food and beverages company of Pakistan partners with Gilgit-Baltistan Girls Football League 2019 under the banner of Flava – the most nutritious and delicious flavoured milk brand. Flava has always been on the forefront when it comes to promoting sports in Pakistan and the second consecutive partnership reflects the same.

Announcing a fully sponsored Higher Education Scholarship for the winner of the tournament, Sami Qahar Head of Marketing Haleeb Foods said “This partnership is deeply focused towards providing women a conducive environment to progression. Flava has a strong commitment towards making Pakistan a healthier nation and through this initiative we are supporting the girls realize their true potential.”

Gilgit-Baltistan Girls Football League is an initiative founded by two young and enthusiastic sisters Karishma and Sumaira Inayat in the year 2016. These girls represent everything Flava stands for – equality and empowerment and Flava takes pride in being their nutrition partner.

This year, the GB-GFL 2019 tournament will take place in Passu Hunza region. Due to a lack of opportunities available for these girls to participate in national or regional level games, this continued partnership aims to fulfil that gap. Not only will it empower women, it will also promote gender equality and challenge stereotypes. Going beyond, this arrangement will go a long way in the development of the underdeveloped areas as Haleeb Foods continues its quest to give back to the community.

AKBL and FFC signed MoU to facilitate small farmers

Askari Bank Limited and Fauji Fertilizer Company agreed to build cooperation by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish All-Encompassing Sona Farmer Community Centers, which will bring technical, financial and educational support to farmers under one roof.

According to the (MoU), Askari Bank Limited shall be extending agriculture loans to small farmers registered and recommended by Sona Welfare Foundation (SWF), a not for profit organization of FFC.

The MoU was signed by Brig Ashfaq Ahmed, SI (M) (Retd), Company Secretary of FFC and Mr. Fahd Sardar Khan, Country Head – Agriculture & Rural Business Division of Askari Bank Ltd in the presence of (Gen) Tariq Khan, HI (M) (Retd), Managing Director – FFC and Mr. Abid Sattar, President & CE – Askari Bank Ltd and Senior Management of the two organizations.

Tree plantation in Multan university

Prime Minister of Pakistan’s vision of a ‘CLEAN AND GREEN PAKISTAN’, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has taken this drive to South Punjab as part of its resolve to support the same and reiterate the Corporate Social Responsibility. National Bank of Pakistan conducted a Tree Plantation Drive in Bahahudin Zakriya University Multan. Syed Farooq Hasan. Regional Corporate Head, Multan and Professor Dr. Tariq Mahmood, Vice Chancellor, Bahauddin Zakariya University, launched the plantation of over 1150 Climate specific plants including Amaltas, Arjun and Neem which were specially bought from Pattoki and planted in BZU with the commitment that both these institutions will keep on collaborating for this noble and patriotic cause. NBP of Corporate and Investment Banking Multan and BZU including Kashif Shamshad Ali, Muhammad Safiullah, Muhammad Khawar Saeed, Muhammad Umer Farooq (BZU), Dr. Aamir Nawaz Khan (Chairman, Department of Horticulture, BZU), Dr. Shaukat Malik (Chairman Institute of Banking & Finance, BZU) were present at the occasion.

Visit to K-Electric’s Bin Qasim Power Station

Vice Chairman of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Engr. Bahadur Shah recently visited K-Electric’s Bin Qasim Power Station (BQPS)-II and appreciated the safety practices applied at the plant. Picture show: Engr. Bahadur Shah, VC, NEPRA along with members of KE’s generation team during the visit. Commissioned in 2012, BQPS-II is KE’s flagship power plant with an installed capacity of 560 MW. The plant is equipped with 9E – which is a robust, proven platform that delivers high availability, reliability and durability while lowering the overall cost-per-kilowatt.

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