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FEATURE STORY

“I think of Pakistan and I think of Indonesia”: Sri Mulyani Indrawati

August 5, 2015

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Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati with project beneficiaries. 

Photo Credit: World Bank

After soaking up the rich cultural heritage in Lahore and witnessing the World Bank Group’s development partnership with Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, Sri Mulyani Indrawati arrived in the modern, yet idyllic capital of the country, Islamabad Monday afternoon. She had two busy days in Islamabad with a packed schedule, meeting representatives of academia, think-tanks, private sector, civil society, diplomatic missions, and development agencies.

She appreciated the Pakistan government’s efforts to stabilize the economy and pursuing the path of equitable growth for poverty reduction and shared prosperity during her meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and other members of the federal cabinet.

In a young country like Pakistan, where more than half of the country’s population is below 24, no visit could be considered complete without interactions with its dynamic youth.  In her first ever address to the youth and scholars of Pakistan at the Higher Education Commission, Indrawati emphasized the importance of garnering the youth’s energy and innovation by provision of skills training and quality jobs.  In her speech titled, “What will it take to realize Pakistan’s potential?”  Indrawati said that womens empowerment, better governance, institution building, and focusing on a few priority development areas like energy, education, health and social safety nets can prove to be engines of development for the country. She said that while there is so much that sets each country apart from the rest of the world, there is also much that can be learned from global experience and knowledge.  “Whenever I think of Pakistan, I think of my own country Indonesia as we also went through many similar experiences in our journey to development and progress,” she said.

 


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Sri Mulyani Indrawati with the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed

Photo Credit: World Bank

Indrawati also met with youth representatives engaged in a World Bank supported Youth and Digital Economy initiative in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).  

Muhammad Shan, an enterprising young man shared his experience:  "After I finished my education, I applied for a number of jobs but was really disheartened as I did not get a response anywhere.  I got intrigued by the concept of earning money online and after I learnt how to write a proposal and make a profile. I got an awesome response and now I have three people working for me part-time and I earn $500 per month on average."

Indrawati was also apprised of the community-led approach in development projects being administered by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for KP, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan.  She met with the MDTF project beneficiaries and praised their commitment for rebuilding their lives, after going through very difficult times.  Nur Muhammad from Lasbela, Balochistan told Indrawatti that his generation and his kids could not go to school in his village as the schools were 15-20 kms away. He had dreaded that his grandchildren woulld have the same fate but through the Balochistan Education Project, his grandchildren are now going to school and getting a good quality education.  He was confident that his coming generations will have better opportunities in life because of education.

Indrawati concluded her visit on Tuesday and returned to World Bank headquarters in Washington DC with a deeper understanding of Pakistan’s development opportunities and challenges.


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