President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and First Lady Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif at the White House on October 23, 2013. Their visit underscored the long-term cooperation between the United States and Pakistan and highlighted the following areas of ongoing U.S. activity:
Fostering Mutual Prosperity
Energy: The United States and Pakistan have a strong partnership in the energy sector, recognizing the central role a stable supply of energy plays in accelerating Pakistan’s economic growth. To date, U.S. assistance has added more than 1,000 megawatts to Pakistan’s national grid—enough electricity for more than 16 million Pakistanis. U.S. assistance has funded the construction and rehabilitation of Gomal Zam Dam, Satpara Dam, Mangla Dam, and Tarbela Dam and the modernization of Guddu, Jamshoro, and Muzaffargarh power plants.
As part of its commitment to add a total of 1,200 megawatts of power to Pakistan’s national grid by 2014, USAID announced the Kaitu Weir Hydroelectric and Irrigation Project in North Waziristan, which will create 18.4 megawatts of electricity for 294,000 people and irrigate 16,400 acres of land. In addition, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is facilitating private sector investment in a number of wind projects in Pakistan to provide an additional 200-250 megawatts of grid-connected power, including the recently approved Sapphire wind energy project in Sindh province. The United States is also helping Pakistan diversify its energy supply through assisting with the development of domestic natural gas and renewable energy resources, as well as the import of liquefied natural gas. To enhance U.S.-Pakistan cooperation, the United States will sponsor a Pakistani energy trade delegation visit to Houston, Texas, in November 2013 to meet with major U.S. energy companies.
Bilateral Trade and Investment: Trade between the United States and Pakistan was valued at more than $5 billion in 2012, and the United States is Pakistan’s largest export market and source of foreign direct investment. The United States hosts industry expositions to promote Pakistani products and organized five seminars in Pakistan within the last year on how Pakistani companies can increase their exports to the United States. Through the U.S.-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and its working groups, both countries agreed to focus on promoting business-to-business ties. That decision led to two successful U.S.–Pakistan Business Opportunities Conferences: one in Dubai in June 2013 and one in London in October 2012. The United States offered to host the next TIFA Council meeting, where further business exchanges will be discussed. To promote private investment, OPIC has committed $476 million in financing and insurance for projects in Pakistan involving a U.S. investor.
Regional Trade: The United States strongly supports Pakistan’s focus on expanding regional trade. The United States has funded the construction and rehabilitation of more than 900 kilometers of roads, including the four major trade routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan. As part of this effort, on October 14, 2013, USAID signed a $90 million agreement with the Pakistan National Highway Authority to rehabilitate 247 kilometers of the Kalat-Quetta-Chaman road. The United States is also supporting the implementation and potential extension of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, organizing regional business matchmaking events, sponsoring regional energy linkages through the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline, and encouraging the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) regional power transmission project.
Private Sector Financing for Business Creation: Recognizing small-and-medium businesses as critical catalysts of Pakistan’s growth, the United States launched the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII) in June 2013, matching U.S. funding one-to-one with private equity capital to make over $100 million available for small businesses in Pakistan.
Entrepreneurship: The United States’ “Khushali Ka Safar” (Journey to Prosperity) programs focus primarily on facilitating access to capital, mentorship, education, and Diaspora engagement and investment. In-country training programs have supported 70,000 female-headed micro-businesses, enabling them to increase their household incomes. Additionally, the United States has provided mentoring and education for approximately 5,000 entrepreneurs through digital and in-person workshops and conferences since 2012.
Agriculture: Pakistan’s agriculture sector employs more than 40 percent of the workforce and is a key driver of the country’s economic growth. The United States is helping to boost Pakistan’s agricultural productivity by increasing irrigation and introducing improved technologies and water management practices. The United States has financed irrigation for more than 370,000 acres of farmland in Pakistan, which has helped increase the incomes of more than 800,000 farmers, with a goal of reaching one million irrigated acres by 2016. The United States also helps Pakistani agribusinesses access financing, form partnerships, and tap into more lucrative markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with Pakistan to vaccinate more than 500,000 cattle, buffalo, and yaks; implement livestock disease surveillance systems; and develop a strain of cotton resistant to the curl leaf virus, which could devastate crops in Pakistan and globally if not addressed.
Science and Technology Cooperation: The United States and Pakistan formally extended their Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement to 2018 during a signing ceremony on October 23, 2013, building on a partnership that began in 2003. The U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Program offers grants to U.S. and Pakistani researchers to work together at Pakistani institutes. The program boasts 83 different research projects worth approximately $30 million in sectors such as health, agriculture, engineering, environment, energy, and water.
Women’s Participation: The full participation of women in any society is essential to sustainable economic growth. In 2012, the U.S. government and American University, together with the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, launched the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council to promote economic advancement for Pakistani women. The council brings together public and private sector partners to facilitate employment, entrepreneurship, and business education opportunities, helping women to launch and advance their own careers. At the community level, U.S.-sponsored grants promote gender equality, including increasing women’s participation in elections and developing tools to combat violence against women.
Basic Education: The United States and Pakistan place a priority on ensuring that Pakistan has an educated population that is prepared to enter the workforce. To that end, USAID launched the Pakistan Reading Initiative to help 3.2 million children across Pakistan learn to read at grade level. U.S. support has built or reconstructed more than 600 schools and is funding the construction of 16 education facilities and teacher training centers throughout Pakistan. The United States also developed four-year and two-year degree programs specifically for education professionals, which have benefited more than 10,000 teachers and school administrators across the country.
Health Services: Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in Asia. To help Pakistan expand its healthcare services, the United States financed a new gynecology ward at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center in Karachi and is constructing a new public hospital in Jacobabad. U.S. programs to train community health workers are extending health services to vulnerable Pakistanis and helping to reduce newborn and maternal deaths in participating areas.
Global Health Security: The United States and Pakistan recognize the importance of partnership on global health security to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, including cooperation in support of the World Health Organization International Health Regulations.
Advancing Security and Counterterrorism Cooperation
Defense and Counterterrorism Cooperation: The United States and Pakistan enjoy a close security partnership and are working jointly to bring about the defeat of core al-Qaida and the extremist groups that threaten the security of both nations and the region. Through U.S. security assistance programs, the United States provides critical equipment to Pakistani military troops conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the border region and to enhance Pakistan’s participation in international maritime security operations. As a result, Pakistan has significantly increased the effectiveness of its operations against militant groups.
Military Training and Exchanges: The United States provides Pakistan’s military with training to promote regional stability, improve its counterterrorism and defense capabilities, and enhance civilian-military relations. Training programs support professional military and technical educational opportunities for Pakistan’s future military leaders, strengthening the professional relationships between the U.S. and Pakistan militaries. Since 2009, the United States has trained nearly 730 members of the Pakistan Army, Air Force, and Navy. In addition, the United States and Pakistan conduct military staff exchanges and joint training exercises each year to enhance coordination and interoperability between our militaries.
Improvised Explosive Devices: Pakistan has taken positive steps over the past year to increase its controls and interdiction of the illicit supply of the materials used to produce improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Through U.S. security assistance programs, and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, the United States provides Pakistan with technical expertise and equipment to improve its ability to detect and defuse these devices.
Coalition Support Funds: Pakistan is an important partner in the fight against violent extremism. Its counterterrorism operations weaken terrorist networks, improve border stability, and advance the goals of Operation Enduring Freedom. The U.S. government supports Pakistan’s efforts in these operations through Coalition Support Funds, which allow for reimbursement of jointly agreed-upon costs incurred by Pakistan in this fight.
Civilian Law Enforcement and Rule of Law: Through training, equipment, and infrastructure assistance, the United States supports Pakistan’s efforts to enhance civilian law enforcement and justice institutions’ response to violent crime and terrorism. U.S. support also facilitates Pakistan’s efforts to reduce the cultivation and transport of illegal narcotics within and across their borders.
Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation: Pakistan is engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues and is working to ensure its strategic export controls are in line with international standards. Pakistan is a state party to both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and is a partner in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Pakistan is an active participant in the Nuclear Security Summit process and works closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Office of Nuclear Security to promote best security practices. Through our joint Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation Dialogue, we have shared views on nonproliferation challenges, as well as on the multilateral regimes on chemical and biological weapons, export controls, and the importance of regional stability and security.
Furthering People-to-People Ties
Higher Education Collaboration and the Fulbright Program: The United States and Pakistan enjoy strong people-to-people programs, particularly in higher education. U.S. exchange programs have brought more than 5,000 Pakistani university and high school students to the United States, and the United States has provided scholarships to more than 12,000 Pakistani students to study at universities within Pakistan. The United States is also investing more in the Fulbright program in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world.
University Partnerships: The United States and Pakistan benefit from 19 university partnerships that improve the professional development of faculty, advance curriculum reform and joint research, and develop peer-to-peer relationships. The United States is supporting the establishment of three Centers for Advanced Studies in agriculture, water management, and energy, which will partner with U.S. academic institutions to promote skilled graduates in sectors key to a strong economy.