Apr 20 - 26, 2009

Some 35 students from three universities in Karachi were honored at a recognition ceremony for their key role in making the World Economic Forum's Executive Opinion Survey 2009-2010 in Pakistan a big success.

The survey was conducted by the Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF), a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan, and the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID).

CSF is the World Economic Forum's partner institute in Pakistan. This year, some 13 universities from all over Pakistan, including the Institute of Business Administration, the Institute of Business Management (IBM), and the Institute of Business and Technology (BIZTEK), were selected. The survey was conducted by students in 17 cities of Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Peshawar, Faisalabad, and Multan.

The survey was facilitated and assisted by Federation of Pakistani Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Lahore Chamber of Commerce, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce, and the Pakistan Business Council.

Speaking at the ceremony, in which CSF distributed recognition certificates to the participating students and universities in Karachi, the chief guest, Mr. Nazar Mahar, Additional Chief Secretary for Planning & Development, Government of Sindh, noted: "This initiative, which has also been conducted since two years, is an excellent opportunity for students to get an insight into the real business world and how chief executive officers function and give direction to their businesses. By participating in the survey process the students are playing a very important national role."

CSF representative, Mr. Stephen Manuel, highlighted the work being done by CSF to bring Pakistan's economy on a more global competitive footing. He said that the Executive Opinion Survey was an integral part of CSF's work and was also a tool to create awareness about the state of Pakistan's economy and thereby bring about accurate data that could provide a true picture of Pakistan's economy. He said that the students' contribution had been outstanding this time round as they had outdone themselves to get over three hundred completed forms although only 80 were required.

The 2009-2010 survey started with a series of workshops CSF conducted in Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi in February 2009 to educate students and share information on the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report which presents a country's ranking across a range of socio-economic variables. As part of capacity building, CSF engaged students from all over Pakistan to help conduct the survey as volunteers.

The Executive Opinion Survey, "The Voice of the Business Community" is a major component of The Global Competitiveness Report and provides the key ingredient that turns the report into a representative annual measure of a nation's economic environment and its ability to achieve sustained growth. The survey gathers valuable information on a broad range of variables for which hard data sources are scare or nonexistent. High level business executives operating in Pakistan were surveyed to capture their opinion on the business environment in which they operate.

The Global Competitiveness Report has been the World Economic Forum's flagship publication since 1979 and is widely recognized as the world's leading cross-country comparator of factors affecting economics competitiveness and growth. Its coverage has expanded each year, now extending to 134 countries. A sample of company executives from a cross section of the private sector, including the financial sector were asked to complete this important and confidential survey.

The World Economic Forum every year issues its Global Competitiveness Report in October, which is the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of national economies, used by governments, academics and business leaders. The World Economic Forum's rankings give a holistic view of the economies in comparison with each other. The rankings are calculated from "Soft Data" gathered by the Executive Opinion Survey; a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes in the countries covered by the Report. The Global Competitiveness Report of 2008-2009 polled over 11,000 business executives worldwide.

CSF's strategy follows its 'triple helix model', which involves engaging the government and the private sector along with the media and the academia for long term economic growth in a knowledge based economy.

CSF supports Pakistan's goal to have a competitive economy by providing input into policy decisions, working to improve regulatory and administrative frameworks and enhancing public-private partnerships within the country.

CSF also provides technical assistance and co-financing for initiatives related to entrepreneurship, business incubators and private-sector-led initiatives with research institutes and universities that contribute to creating a knowledge-driven economy.

USAID's support for CSF is part of the $2.8 billion aid that the U.S. Government has provided to Pakistan since 2002 to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to reconstruct the earthquake-affected areas.