By Rafiq Vayani
DUBAI/KARACHI: The 7th Edition of THE FUTURE SUMMIT (TFS) commenced with a full house at a Movenpick Hotel in Karachi.
The 7th Edition of THE FUTURE SUMMIT is co-hosted by Nutshell Group and HBL, and powered by Unity Foods Limited, in strategic partnership with the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) and CORPORATE PAKISTAN GROUP.
The inaugural session showcased an impressive lineup of public and corporate leadership with Mohammad Ali, Caretaker Federal Minister for Energy, Power & Petroleum; Maj Gen Shahid Nazir, HI (M), Director General Strategic Projects, Pakistan Army; Farrukh Amin, CEO, Unity Foods Limited; Lasha Tabidze, Global Chief Digital Officer, VEON; Dana Al Salem, Global Tech Entrepreneur, Investor & Innovation Expert; and Amir Paracha, President, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI).
Addressing the audience, Mohammad Ali, Caretaker Federal Minister for Energy, Power & Petroleum, stated, “All of us would have different recipes to solve our problems. Policy makers cannot handle all the issues in one go. We need to have a policy framework; research says institutions cannot fix a system without economic independence. So, the two core objectives that Pakistan needs to focus on are exports and the formalizing of the economy.”
In his welcome address, Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, Founder & CEO, Nutshell Group & Pakistan’s Minister of State for Investment (2021-22), highlighted the role of platforms like TFS for strengthening Pakistan’s image and thanked all the collaborators for believing in the vision for the country’s future.
Farrukh Amin, CEO, Unity Foods Limited, said, “Pakistan has survived massive economic challenges; be it the post-COVID crisis or the floods in 2022. I believe Pakistan has the potential to be a part of The Big Picture because we are the world’s largest producer of rice, cotton, wheat, and various other natural resources. Foreign investors can invest in the agriculture sector, as we are not just producers but also innovators.”
Amir Paracha, President, OICCI, advocated the importance of creating a conducive business environment. He said, “The challenges of today will be the opportunities of tomorrow and we have witnessed the unwavering dedication of international investors in the past years. The population we view as a liability, especially our youth population, is our asset, which will pay dividends in the future.”
Elaborating on the green initiatives by the Pakistan Army, Maj Gen Shahid Nazir, HI (M), Director General Strategic Projects, stated, “The Pakistani Army recognizes the crucial role of eco-friendly practices in safeguarding our country’s natural heritage. We are committed to implementing green initiatives that minimize our ecological footprint and contribute to a cleaner, greener Pakistan.”
Lasha Tabidze, Global Chief Digital Officer, VEON, shared his experience of being in Pakistan, “Our strategy is aligned with a purpose. We want to be together with our community and consumers in collaboration with the government and private sector, delivering digital goods to the Pakistani nation. We want to empower entire communities by providing digital solutions, especially digital financial services and creating ease of access for the consumers.”
Dana Al Salem, Global Tech Entrepreneur, Investor & Innovation Expert, commending the efforts of the organizers. She said, “We have learned that one person may not always change the world in entirety, so collaborative efforts are needed for bringing revolutions to change lives, and this gives us the purpose that leads all great movements.”
The inaugural session was followed by a session titled “The Way Forward,” which comprised an interesting conversation between Mohammad Shoaib, CFA, CEO, Al Meezan Investment Management, and Dr. Ishrat Husain, N.I, H.I, Author, Economist, former Federal Minster & Governor, State Bank of Pakistan. The conversation delved into Dr. Ishrat’s newly launched work “Development Pathways: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh 1947-2022.”
The first half of day one concluded with a panel discussion titled “CEOs Dialogue – THE BIG PICTURE: Finding the Bright Spots.” The panel moderated by Saquib Ahmad, Managing Director, SAP Pakistan, Iraq & Afghanistan, included noteworthy speakers, namely Yousaf Hussain, President & CEO, Faysal Bank Limited; Zeeshan Sheikh, Country Manager Pakistan & Afghanistan, International Finance Corporation; Ahmed Khan Bozai, Managing Director & City Country Officer, Citibank; Dr. Amjad Waheed, Chief Executive Officer, NBP Funds; Syed Amir Ali, Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank Limited; and Fatima Asad-Said, Chief Executive Officer, Abacus.
Yousaf Hussain, President & CEO, Faysal Bank Limited, elaborated on the essence of discovering what works, “In every situation, there are glimmers of hope and achievement. We should learn from success and leverage these insights to drive progress. It is about identifying successes, replicating them, and catalyzing transformative change.”
Summarizing the discussion, Saquib said, “Amidst challenges, finding the bright spots isn’t just about optimism; it’s about recognizing and amplifying the sources of inspiration and success. Highlighting and scaling small successes can lead to significant and impactful outcomes.”
Nutshell Group’s initiative to host business summits across different industries and sectors over the years has garnered significant international acclaim from government bodies, corporate entities, private and public sectors, and civil society. We eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sessions, aiming to delve deeper into the realms of innovation, inspiration, and collaboration.