At World Summit on Governance, PM Khan Sells His Narrative, Gets a Nod From IMF Chief

Is Prime Minister Imran Khan heading towards generating one of the highest ever per capita investment and financial assistance the country may witness in decades?

PKONWEB Report (Dubai/Islamabad) — Between 5:30 pm and 6pm UAE time, international and local attendees of the World Summit on Governance heard in pin drop silence as Prime Minister Imran Khan drew a map of an emerging Pakistan and painted it green with his government’s focus on human development, governance, investment and tourism. One of the key buyers of PM Khan’s invite to ‘Naya Pakistan’ roadshow was unpredictably the World Bank Chief Christine Lagarde.

Khan met Lagarde Sunday on the sidelines of the high-profile WSG taking place in Dubai where global movers and shakers are meeting on how to improve governance amid challenges ahead, specially in the region with a huge youth bulge and the changing geopolitical dynamics–Pakistan is ground zero for this, according to many observers.

The premier’s sell at the Summit and during his meet with Ms. Lagarde were his biggest takeaways. Earlier, he was able to garner enough financial assistance from friendly Saudi Arabia, UAE and China to do firefighting successfully–the most critical activity his nascent government inherited in August last year. Now he looks toward supplementing other crucial needs by jump-starting medium and long-term financial and economic initiatives. The IMF’s nod is therefore essential for his government to unlock access to resources from other multilateral lenders like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as well as global capital markets.

Lagarde’s yes to PM Khan’s narrative on bailout was flashed by the IMF’s statement. Khan also tweeted “there was a convergence of our views on need to carry out deep structural reforms to put (the) country on the path of sustainable development in which the most vulnerable segments of society are protected.”

On Governance, he reiterated that the foundation of a state is its rule of law.

For the globetrotting Lagarde, the buzzwords Khan used resonated—probably the first time she had heard from a Pakistani leader. “The magic worked along with the broadstroke of his charisma”, said one senior Pakistani analyst on condition of anonymity.

“I reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Pakistan,” said Lagarde in her statement soon after meeting Khan, thus clearing the deck to move forward on IMF bailout program Khan’s government seeks to shore up the macros of a faltering economy going forward.

Citing the PTI government’s policy agenda, Lagarde also said protecting the poor and strengthening governance were “key priorities to improve people’s living standards in a sustainable manner”.

The press release issued by the IMF said Lagarde’s meeting with the premier had been “good and constructive”.

With a yes from Lagarde on IMF support coupled with buying Khan’s social-welfare narrative, the premier told the august audience at the Summit. “Don’t miss the boat to invest in Pakistan,” which he said was on upswing.

He now focuses on the upcoming visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman which could lead to biggest ever investment deals.

Riyadh and Islamabad have been involved for months in talks to hammer out details of the deals in time for the high-profile visit.

A record investment package being prepared by Riyadh for Islamabad will likely provide welcome relief while also addressing regional geopolitical challenges, analysts believe.

Two Saudi sources have confirmed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will visit Islamabad shortly, without giving a date, reported AFP.

By mid-June, Khan’s government may succeed in getting investment and financial assistance commitments worth between $60 billion and $70 billion–probably more than the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said one insider. That could translate into one of the highest ever per capita investments the country may witness in decades.

“One big lesson from sports which I learnt is, you only lose when you give up”, Khan said.

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