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Showing posts from March, 2012

Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill Long Term Bullish on Pakistan

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In his recently published book "The Growth Map", Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill of BRIC fame has reiterated Pakistan's long term growth prospects as part of the Next 11 (N-11) group of nations which includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam.



Goldman Sachs has recently launched an N-11 equity fund (GSYAX) to enable investors to take advantage of growth in the Next-11 group of nations.

Answering a reporter's question about the growth prospects of GCC (oil-rich nations of Gulf Cooperation Council) at a recent investment conference in Dubai, he said: "Some GCC countries are well placed to be hubs for the BRIC and N-11-influenced world. I often think of Dubai as a kind of N-11 center, even the capital of the N-11 world, given its business adjacency to Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and, of course, India and Russia."

While the primary criterion used by Goldman Sachs for membership of a…

Pakistan Among Hottest Mobile Banking Markets

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Spurred by a favorable regulatory and technology environment, Pakistan is witnessing dramatic growth in branchless banking, according to a March 14, 2012 report by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Here are some of the key indicators contained in the State Bank report:

1. Number of branchless banking accounts jumped 40 percent to 929,184 in October-December 2011 (Second quarter of FY2011-12) from the preceding three month period.

2. Total amount of branchless banking deposits surged 169 percent to Rs 503 million in Oct-Dec 2011 from July-September 2011.

3. Number of branchless banking transactions during the second quarter rose 30 percent to 20.6 million while the value of transactions showed a growth of 35 percent to reach Rs. 79,410 million.

4. Branchless banking agents network in Pakistan grew by 16 percent in the second quarter (October- December 2011) of current fiscal year 2011-12 to reach 22,512 agents covering the entire length and breadth of the country.

5. The average size of branch…

Can Khan Academy Spark Education Revolution in Pakistan?

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The revolutionary Khan Academy is a brainchild of Bangladeshi-American Salman Khan. It is growing in popularity among Pakistanis wishing to take advantage of "Free World Class Education" offered online via short 10-15 minute videos. The subjects range from math, physics, chemistry and biology to astronomy, history, economics, finance, engineering and medicine. Khan counts Microsoft founder Bill Gates among his fans and students. Gates has described Sal Khan as his favorite teacher, and Gates Foundation has provided funding to enable Khan Academy to grow.



Former hedge fund analyst known as Sal Khan in Silicon Valley, the Academy founder has an MBA from Harvard Business School and three Bachelors degrees in Math, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science from MIT. Here's how Khan explains on his website why he decided to become a teacher to the world: “A lot of my own educational experience was spent frustrated with how information was conveyed in textbooks and lectures…

Pakistan's Resilient Entrepreneurs Defy All Odds

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Growing at more than 55% a year and collectively employing 41,000, the winners of Pakistan Fast Growth 100 contest were announced by Harvard-based Allworld Network last week. Of these 100 entrepreneurial companies, 70 also qualified for the Arabia500, putting Pakistan in second position after Turkey with 117 winners.



AllWorld was co-founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter, Deirdre M. Coyle, Jr., and Anne S. Habiby with the aim to bring visibility to growing companies in emerging markets to increase their odds of success. Any private, non-listed, company with rapid sales growth and an ability to demonstrate results with audited financial statements was invited to compete for a spot on the inaugural Arabia500 which includes Pakistan and Turkey in addition to the emerging economies of the Middle East and North Africa.

Each Pakistan entrepreneur ranked in the top 100 has grown an average of 40 percent annually between 2008 and 2010, created an average of 200 jobs pe…

Pakistan Supercomputing Site Among World's Top 200

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NUST's new 132 Teraflop supercomputer has catapulted the Pakistani university's supercomputing center to the elite Top 200 list of supercomputing sites in the world, a list dominated by a handful of industrialized nations. National University of Science & Technology's supercomputer is named ScREC after its supercomputing research and education center. The cluster consists of 66 nodes equipped with a total of 30,992 cores. The NUST site breaks down the components as follows: 32 dual-socket quad-core nodes, 32 NVIDIA GPUs, a QDR InfiniBand interconnect, and 26.1 TB of storage.



ScREC will be be deployed for research in the areas of computational biology, fluid dynamics, image processing, cryptography, medical imaging, geosciences, finance, and climate modeling. Specifically, RCMS is currently developing a direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method for subsonic nanoscale gas flows. Other projects include external flow analysis of heavy vehicles to reduce fuel consumption, …

"Washington Consensus" & India-Pakistan Trade

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East Asian experience has some important lessons for Pakistan as the country embraces the western prescriptions of democracy and free trade. It's particularly important to recall these lessons now in view Pakistan's decision to open unrestricted trade with India whose major industrialists like Tata and Birla have greatly benefited from protectionist policies to scale up and gain experience.

The East Asian nation of South Korea has become a great model of economic success for the developing world. Back in 1960s, its annual per capita income was around $80, less than half of Ghana's at the time. Today, it stands at $30,000, comparable to that of some wealthy European nations. For most of this period, the people of South Korea have ignored the Washington consensus, the western prescription on economy and politics, to achieve this miraculous progress.



In 1960s and 1970s, Korea was led by military ruler General Park Chung-Hee who put in place the policies which helped Koreans re…

State of Life Sciences R&D in Pakistan

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Complete gene mapping of a Pakistani citizen by Human Genome Project in Karachi has put the country on a very short list of nations which have accomplished this scientific feat. To assess the state of genomics and biotechnology in Pakistan, let's take a look at what is happening in the country in this field:

1. Researchers at the Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) in Karachi collaborated with Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) to complete gene mapping of Dr. Ata-ur-Rahman, according to SciDev. Dr. Rehman, President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences, volunteered himself for the project.

2. More than two hundred life sciences departments are engaged in genomics and biotechnology research at various Pakistani universities, according to a report in The News.

3. Pakistan has been a Science Watch rising star for several years for research papers in multiple fields, particularly in biological sciences. Publications by Pakistani research teams have increased four-f…