UAE president drops clues on broadening investment footprint in Pakistan
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, along with other government functionaries, warmly received UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Chandna Airport in the Cholistan desert on Wednesday afternoon.
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting, with the UAE president dropping clues his government is planning to broaden its investment footprint in Pakistan, which drastically needs such inflows to keep the economy afloat in the face of a financial crisis.
“Be prepared, UAE will make a huge investment in Pakistan,” sources quoted President Al Nahyan as saying during the cordial meeting with PM Shehbaz at the airport.
The president assured the prime minister that the Emirates would always support Pakistan, highlighting the brotherly relations between the two countries went back a number of decades and that his father laid the foundation of their bilateral ties.
PM Shehbaz recalled his recent visit to the UAE. “Building on our last meeting, we discussed ways and means to further strengthen our brotherly relations,” he wrote on Twitter. He also interacted with the children of the president in English and Arabic, the sources said.
In a huge announcement made on 12 January, the UAE agreed to lend $1 billion to Pakistan and roll over an existing $2 billion loan, as the country’s central bank foreign reserves dropped to just three weeks’ worth of imports.
The loan announcements – which offered some respite to Pakistan which is still reeling from last year’s deadly nationwide floods that have caused over $30 billion of damage – came as PM Shehbaz kicked off a two-day visit to the Emirates.
External financing is currently crucial for Pakistan’s broken economy as the International Monetary Fund’s ninth review to clear the release of an additional $1.1 billion tranche of funds to the country has been pending since last September.