Monday, January 21, 2008

World Economic Forum and CSF launch the Executive Opinion Survey in Pakistan

Survey to reflect "the voice of the business community" in the Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009

Islamabad, 21 January 2008 - The World Economic Forum in partnership with the Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) will conduct the Executive Opinion Survey 2008 in Pakistan beginning this week. The Executive Opinion Survey, "The Voice of the Business Community" is a major component of The Global Competitiveness Report and provides the key component 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 scarce or nonexistent. Top level business executives operating in Pakistan will be surveyed to capture their opinion on the business environment in which they operate.

The Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF), a joint initiative of the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the partner institution in Pakistan. CSF was launched in 2006 to reposition Pakistan's economy on a more competitive global footing.

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 economic competitiveness and growth. Its coverage has expanded each year, now extending to 131 countries.

A sample of company executives from a cross section of the private sector, including the financial sector, will be asked to complete this important and confidential survey. Arthur Bayhan, Chief Executive Officer of the Competitiveness Support Fund notes that it is vitally important that each executive sampled complete the survey to insure that Pakistan has accurate and reliable data in the Report, so that the weaknesses and strengths of Pakistan's economy are elaborated.

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 both publicly available "Hard Data", and "Soft Data"-namely 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 2007-2008 polled over 11,000 business executives worldwide.

The Competitiveness Support Fund will be working with the Pakistan Business Council and other stakeholders in the country to carryout this survey. 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.

To improve "Hard Data" sources for the Global Competitiveness Report, CSF will be working closely with all line-ministries and public sector institutions to verify and update Pakistan's latest data with international sources. CSF will also communicate priorities to the relevant ministries and Pakistani institutions i.e. including Higher Education Commission, NAVTEC, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, and Ministries of Health, Education, Labor and other regulatory bodies to ensure the timely provision of data to the international sources.

The World Economic Forum will be holding its annual meeting from 23 to 27 of January 2008 at Davos. For over three decades, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting has provided an unrivalled platform for world leaders to shape the global agenda. The World Economic Forum's multi-stakeholder model that leverages the collective wisdom of leaders from business, government, the media, academia, the arts and civil society by building a global platform for collaboration and action to address priorities on the global agenda.

President Pervez Musharraf will also attend the event, now in its 38th year, as part of a nine-day trip which will also see him visiting Belgium, France and the UK.

CSF has also worked with the World Economic Forum to create opportunities for leading private sector organizations to interact with international global growth companies, or "the new champions" in Dalian, China, September 2007. The Meeting captured the synergies existing and created through innovative collaboration and highlighted the opportunities created by and available to, the New Champions and to explore the next wave of growth.

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.

Support for CSF is part of the $1.5 billion in aid that the U.S. Government is providing to Pakistan over five years to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance.

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