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USAID, US Pakistani entities sign MoUs to promote technology, digital investment

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USAID, US Pakistani entities sign MoUs to promote technology, digital investment

 The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Wednesday signed four partnership memoranda of understandings with U.S.-Pakistani diaspora entities to promote technology and digital investments in Pakistan.

The USAID signed MoUs with the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, Silicon Valley to promote technology and digital investments in Pakistan and support Pakistani startups; SARCMedIQ to improve the health digital ecosystem in Pakistan.

It also signed the Understandings with The Crescent Charity Foundation to support physical infrastructure in flood-affected areas of Pakistan; and PakFoods to improve humanitarian and social development outcomes for Pakistan.

The MoUs were signed at a U.S.-Pakistani diaspora conference here where the United States Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Andrew Schofer highlighted the valuable contributions of the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora, which is a key partner in the humanitarian, social, and commercial sectors in Pakistan.

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Deputy Chief of Mission Schofer highlighted the longstanding U.S.-Pakistan partnership to advance Pakistan’s economic growth and emphasized continued opportunities for future partnership. “As the Green Revolution improved lives in the past, a ‘Green Alliance’ between the United States and Pakistan will help us jointly strengthen climate resilience, develop clean energy alternatives, and foster economic growth,” he said.

At the conference, which was sponsored by the U.S. Mission in Pakistan in close coordination with the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora entity Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, Silicon Valley fundamental challenges and opportunities in the technology sector of Pakistan were discussed and deliberated.

More than 300 participants attended in-person, including members of the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora, prominent local business leaders, and Pakistani officials, including Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, and Zeeshaan Shah, the Prime Minister’s Ambassador at Large for Investments.

USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman said, “The conference was an opportunity to highlight some of the contributions and investments already made by the Pakistani diaspora, facilitate collaborations between Pakistani diaspora entities, and develop a road map for collective action to address the current economic, humanitarian and social challenges in Pakistan.”

The United States remains firmly committed to engaging and partnering with the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora to address Pakistan’s challenges in the technology, humanitarian, social and commercial sectors and to further Pakistan’s development goals.

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Chinese firm aims to expand investments in Pakistan, shows interest in mining sector

Chinese firm aims to expand investments in Pakistan, shows interest in mining sector

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Chinese firm aims to expand investments in Pakistan, shows interest in mining sector

 A notable Chinese company has expressed keen interest in expanding its investment in Pakistan, in yet another sign of investor confidence boost in the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

A delegation from Chinese firm MCC Tongsin Resources led by its Chairman Wang Jaichen called on PM Shehbaz here on Friday.

The premier invited the Chinese company to invest in Pakistan’s mining sector and manufacturing of export goods.

Shehbaz assured the delegation that his government would extend all-out facilitation to the company from minerals exploration and processing to the export of goods.

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The PM instructed the relevant federal ministers and officers to continue consultation with the Chinese firm, taking the Balochistan chief minister, provincial departments and stakeholders on board.

The delegates reposed trust in PM Shehbaz’s leadership, and expressed keen interest in enhancing their investment in Pakistan’s mining and minerals sectors.

The delegation briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz about the construction of a mineral park in Pakistan and their future investment plans.

The premier welcomed the Chinese firm and highlighted the priority steps by his government to promote foreign investment in Pakistan.

He said that being a time-tested friend, China supported Pakistan in every difficult hour for which the Pakistani nation was grateful to the leadership and people of China.

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Federal ministers Ahad Khan Cheema, Dr Musaddik Malik, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Jam Kamal Khan and relevant senior officers attended the meeting.

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Govt jacks up power price by Rs1.47 per unit

Govt jacks up power price by Rs1.47 per unit

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Govt jacks up power price by Rs1.47 per unit

The government on Friday increased the electricity tariff by Rs1.47 per unit.

According to Nepra sources, the collection from consumers will take place in August, September, and October.

The electricity companies had requested the funds as part of the third quarter adjustment for 2023-2024, seeking Rs 31.34 billion under capacity charges.

Sources said that Rs5.57 billion were requested for operation and maintenance costs, and Rs12.38 billion were requested for the transmission and distribution impact under monthly fuel cost adjustment.

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Previously, Nepra had completed the hearing on the electricity companies’ request under the quarterly adjustment.

Nepra approved the Power Division’s request, allowing an increase of Rs 1.45 per unit in electricity prices.

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Hong Kong allows China’s digital yuan to be used in local shops

Hong Kong allows China’s digital yuan to be used in local shops

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Hong Kong allows China's digital yuan to be used in local shops

Hong Kong will allow mainland China’s pilot digital currency to be used in shops in the city, the head of its de facto central bank said on Friday, marking a step forward for Beijing’s efforts to internationalise the yuan amid rising geopolitical tensions.

The programme, backed by Beijing, will allow mainland Chinese and Hong Kong residents to open digital yuan wallets via a mobile app developed by China’s central bank and will permit them to make payments in retail shops and some online stores in Hong Kong and in mainland China.

Transactions using e-CNY, predominantly for domestic retail payments in China, hit 1.8 trillion yuan ($249.27 billion) as of end of June 2023, with 120 million digital wallets opened, according to the latest disclosure from China’s central bank.

Using the wallet, users can make payments at over 10 million merchants in 17 provinces and cities in the mainland.

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Each wallet used in the city will be subject to a balance limit of 10,000 yuan, with single transactions and daily payments capped at 2,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan, respectively, officials from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said.

Peer-to-peer transfers will not be allowed at the moment, according to the HKMA.

“By expanding the e-CNY pilot in Hong Kong .. users may now top up their wallets anytime, anywhere without having to open a mainland bank account, thereby facilitating merchant payments in the mainland by Hong Kong residents,” HKMA Chief Eddie Yue said.

Currently, users of other digital yuan wallets such as those operated by Ant Group and Tencent can make payments in the city.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp and Bank of Communications Co have been selected as e-CNY wallet operators.

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The yuan’s use in global finance remains low, though it has shown steady increases.

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