ISLAMABAD : A consortium of top Pakistani business schools was formed on Monday to engage academic sector for applied research on various industrial and business opportunities related to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The decision in this regard was taken in a meeting chaired by Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal. Deans of top Pakistani business schools attended the meeting. It was decided that the consortium will work for applied research to analyse the impact of Chinese investment in CPEC projects in the field of energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation to ensure transformation of Pakistan into a new hub of trade for the whole world.

On the occasion, the minister instructed that the consortium should focus on industry cooperation under CPEC and ensure promotion of business to business model and joint ventures. “Business schools should work for capacity building of provincial governments and chambers of commerce to ensure maximum benefits of CPEC” he added.

He further instructed to develop linkages with top Chinese business schools and ensure exchanges of students and teachers. “We must engage Pakistani graduates of Chinese universities to get help of their foreign exposure,” he added.

To understand Chinese business practices, ethics and laws, the minister advised to upgrade universities libraries not only by acquiring Chinese publications but by translating it to make it available for local consumption. “West, Middle East and Central Asian countries have already expressed keenness to join CPEC so the consortium should propose a model to engage these nations for a true transformation of Pakistan into a geo economic hub,” he added.

It was also proposed that Chinese language should be included as a compulsory subject in all undergraduate programmes in Pakistan. Further it was decided that a monthly meeting of the established consortium should be held at each respective university in a sequential order as to get better understanding of Chinese economies, relocation, joint venture of Chinese industries, alignment of universities programmes according to CPEC projects requirements and recommendation for policies on special economic zones to attract Chinese investors.