ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that the Central Asia region should focus on regional connectivity for better prospects in new global economy.

“We must brace ourselves up for the challenges of new global economy, which is characterized by globalization, regionalization, Knowledge and Information Revolution, climate change and food security, and peace and harmony”, Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing a meeting of 12th ministerial conference on Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) in Astana, Kazakhstan.

According to a statement received here on Friday, the meeting discussed the stock-take report on the implementation of the CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy and Implementation Action Plan, along with Trade Policy Strategic Action Plan and steps to initiate implementation. The Federal Minister said on the occasion that Central Asian region should better exploit its rich human and physical resources by eliminating trade barriers, facilitating  and promoting cross-border transport, revolutionizing the energy sector for sustainable future growth, and cooperation in infrastructure development projects in the region.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the need of mainstreaming of regional cooperation by member states and multilateral institutions.

He was of the view that “we should invest in regional connectivity projects to enable business enterprises to access regional and global markets.

He added,”PM Nawaz Sharif has made regional connectivity projects a top priority area for his government. Pakistan is developing economic corridors which will bring great opportunities for the region.”

Besides CAREC meeting, Federal minister held bilateral talks with the President of Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao, in which he emphasized upon Pakistan’s priority to build Diamer Bhasha dam and speed up implementation of other energy projects including Jamshoro coal power project.

The Minister reiterated the need for enhancing regional connectivity and development of economic corridors with the help of ADB and other development partners.

The Federal Minister also met Minister for Economy & Planning Kazakhstan,and shared with him concepts of Pakistan Vision 2025 and 11th Five Year Plan 2013-18.