The U.S. and Pakistan signed two agreements to help Pakistan's economy increase its dynamism. The first agreement is part of a five-year assistance package from the U.S. to Pakistan worth more than seventy million dollars. The package includes funding for over one-hundred-thirty thousand loans for small businesses, support for new industries, and aid for more than fifty-thousand farmers in drought-stricken areas of Pakistan. "The people of the United States are excited to see a growing, vibrant Pakistani economy," said U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Ryan Crocker. "By appealing to Pakistanis' entrepreneurial spirit, the United States' Economic Growth Programs in Pakistan will continue to help businesses grow and reduce poverty," he said.
The second agreement establishes the Competitive Support Fund, which will promote links between higher education and industry for knowledge-based enterprise development. "Such linkages will spark the kind of information sharing that makes business more dynamic and supports the commercialization of innovations developed at our universities and research institutions," said Omar Ayub Khan (oh-mahr ah-yoob khan), Pakistan's finance minister.
The fund will also bring together Pakistani and foreign universities and research institutions, particularly those in the U.S. and Europe. "Cooperation of this type between business and academia has generated tremendous innovation in the countries that have developed it, not just in the United States and Europe, but also in places like India, Thailand, and Turkey," said Professor Atta-Ur-Rahman (attah oor rah-MOHN), chairman of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission. "Pakistan cannot afford to ignore these successes," he said.
The U.S. is also supporting primary and higher education in Pakistan with an aid package worth more than sixty million dollars. The money supports school administrator and teacher training, school construction, parental and community involvement in schools, and scholarships for students to attend universities in Pakistan and the U.S. "In education lies opportunity," said U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, "and we are helping Pakistanis create and seize opportunities."