Saudi crown prince, PM Shehbaz touch base in Riyad Saudi crown prince, PM Shehbaz touch base in Riyad RIYADH: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif underlined on Tuesday the need for combined efforts to explore the true potential of clean energy resources, coupled with utilisation of modern tools and technical gadgets to fully harness the talents of young generations and explore future avenues for progress and prosperity. Addressing the ‘Future Investment Initiative’ conference in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Shehbaz said that clean energy potential would be the new driver of economic prosperity He urged the world community to come forward and support these joint efforts. “Nothing could be of more importance to us than this very challenge: how to ensure that our collective tomorrow is better than our today,” he said. “And that we are ready for it; that we have the tools, skills and technology which enables us not just to navigate the complex world of tomorrow – but to also shape it today in a manner that has the most beneficial impact on humanity.” The prime minister said that the present generation was living through truly transformational times, adding that throughout history such times had triggered political, social environmental and economic changes. “These changes have been powered by imagination, innovation and action… bold, decisive and consequential action,” he said. “But the pace of transformation and change was never as swift as it is today,” he continued. The prime minister said that tech power was a great equaliser. It could cut through social, cultural and financial barriers and empower those who were equipped to leverage it. In Pakistan, he said, he had seen with a sense of deep satisfaction how young women and men were crafting their careers – and boosting their earning power – by using tech in diverse fields within the larger digital matrix like e-commerce. “I believe Pakistan is uniquely placed to leverage this change. Most of our youngsters are equipped with the tools of the new digital world. Their talent is already recognised, as Pakistan is the fourth most popular country for freelancing.” At present, he added, a family in urban and rural Pakistan. With access to mobile phones and internet, aspired to high education standards, wanted to buy consumer products, and needed everything from insurance to healthcare. “Pakistan is ripe for market innovation. A new generation of Pakistani entrepreneurs are shying away from traditional businesses and turning their focus and energies to disruptive innovations,” he added. The prime minister said that he had deep confidence in the young generation of Pakistanis. This was why he was fully prepared to invest the resources of his government in providing them an enabling environment for innovation. As technology was unleashing new potentials, the prime minister warned the world was undergoing cataclysmic changes. “Global warming is upon us. Extreme temperatures are disrupting the usual balance of nature and our ecosystem,” he added. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan had experienced a historic heat wave in March and then the torrential rains from June to August this year, which led to unprecedented floods. “These rains and floods have impacted 33 million people, and more than 1,500 people have died. More than two million houses had been damaged, and over 3.5 million acres of crops have been lost,” he added. Shehbaz expressed resolve of the government to rebuild lives, livelihoods and climate resilient infrastructure. “Sustainability, thus is predicated on climate action now. Societies place greater premium on sustainability,” he said. The clean energy was the driver of the new economy, he said. “As Prime Minister, I am spearheading the development of 10,000MW of solar power to meet Pakistan’s peak load demand and lessen reliance on fossil fuel,” he said. “Pakistan could no longer afford the import of costly oil to generate power,” he said, adding: “It is a great opportunity for investors who are looking for attractive returns.” The prime minister said Pakistan’s infrastructure development needs were huge and they were upgrading their rails, ports, airways, water, gas, power and digital infrastructure. The prime minister urged those present at the conference to participate in the innovative business opportunities and assist in unlocking Pakistan’s potential, while earning profitable returns on their investment. Shehbaz proposed that the Future Investment Initiative should consider establishing a satellite-centre in one of Pakistan’s leading universities to explore the rapidly growing Pakistani market and spur entrepreneurial innovation among their young population. “The satellite could become the centre of a network of researchers, innovators, investors, and service providers to harness the capacities which, if optimised, will take Pakistan to a higher level of social and economic development.” As a prime minister, Shehbaz said he had tasked himself to ensure that Pakistan and its dynamic citizens had every opportunity to become active participants in the technological change sweeping across the world. Saudi crown prince, PM Shehbaz touch base in Riyad The prime minister said Pakistan was open for business. “Let me assure you that today we as a nation are ready to reach out and grab the future with both hands,” he said. “As the Prime Minister, I am determined to deliver efficient and competent governance in these difficult times,” he added. He urged the participants to join hands to unleash the combined energies to carve the future “we all want for our coming generations”. The prime minister expressed his gratitude to the brotherly and friendly countries for providing timely support in the aftermath of devastating flood. He particularly mentioned the generosity of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for facilitating an air bridge for the supply of flood relief to the affected population.