Lahore School of Economics

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Lahore School of Economics Annual Conferences 2015

Lahore School of Economics hosts one international conference each year on the Management of the Pakistan Economy and four national conferences on Managing Business in Pakistan, Social Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics and Environmental Science and Policies.

The 11th Annual Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy – 25-26 March 2015
Pakistan as a Regional Manufacturing Hub – Prospects and Challenges

The next Lahore School Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy, 25 – 26 March, 2015, will address the subject of desirability, feasibility and prospects of turning Pakistan into a regional manufacturing hub and will seek to identify steps needed towards that goal.

Session 1: Why manufacturing matters?

Because of doubts in some quarters concerning promotion of manufacturing and the belief that the country could rely on agriculture and services – as it did during the rapid growth phase of 2002-07 – for future growth, this question needs to be addressed at the outset. Linked to this is the general performance of the manufacturing sector as well as its socio-economic impact.

Session 2: Impact of policy and institutional environment on manufacturing performance

This session will seek to explain the performance of Pakistan’s manufacturing in terms of public policy. Has it helped or hindered growth in the sector? How investment, particularly in manufacturing, is impacted by measures to achieve macroeconomic stability.

Session 3: Labour and employment issues

Growth of manufacturing generates employment not just directly by creating employment opportunities but also indirectly through the emergence of ancillary services – trading, banking and finance, engineering. However, there is also the question whether the required quality of labour is available and what must be done to improve the skills of workforce.

Session 4: Performance of Pakistan’s manufacturing – case studies

The actual experience of individual firms – both successful and failures – can provide important insights into the constraints in the manufacturing sector. The traditional discussion has tended to concentrate on the choice of specific industries but the actual experience shows that firm-level performance varies widely. In other words, it is important to determine whether the choice of industry matters in the context of overall growth of manufacturing.

Session 5: Finance and industrial development (comparative country experience)

Availability of finance is often seen as a constraint to industrial growth, especially for the SME sector. Special financing of industry arrangements played a significant role in the rapid growth of manufacturing in East Asia. How important has it been in Pakistan? How well the financing needs are being met by the mainstream banking system? Have the specialised financial institutions, devoted to the development of industry, been effective? What can be done to make them more relevant and effective? Foreign direct investment has not been very significant in the manufacturing sector in Pakistan. Does that matter?

Session 6: Firm size, entrepreneurship, and build-up of technological capabilities

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of innovation and development of technological capabilities. It has been seen that certain environments are more conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation than others, notably, East Asia vs. South Asia. Can those conditions be replicated in Pakistan? The conventional wisdom is that SMEs should be supported and nurtured, as they are an important source of entrepreneurship. What’s been Pakistan’s experience? Should Pakistan consider promoting national champions, as some countries have done successfully?

Session 7: Defining Pakistan’s space in manufacturing – challenges and opportunities

If the goal is to make Pakistan a regional manufacturing hub, it would be important to define Pakistan’s space – in what sectors and markets Pakistan could successfully compete? China and India are two particularly important competitors for Pakistan. With China, Pakistan already has a bilateral trade agreement and off-and-on discussions to normalise trading relations with India have taken place. To take advantage of these opportunities, Pakistan must be clear about and be able to push its strategic interests.

Session 8: Towards a strategy for Pakistan as a regional manufacturing hub

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2/14/2015 08:30:00 AM,

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