Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

36th Annual Conference Of The Pakistan Society Of Development Economists
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36th Annual Conference Of The Pakistan Society Of Development Economists

Publication Year : 2023

Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) is the only Professional Association of Economists housed at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. PSDE was established in 1982 and it has been conducting annual conferences on the most pressing economic and social issues of Pakistan each year since 1984. This year, PSDE conducted its 36th Annual General Meeting, titled “Charter of Economy: Investment, Productivity and Employability”, in Quetta. The event, which spanned three days, took place during November 22-24, 2022 at the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta.

As per the tradition, the Conference featured invited lectures by eminent international scholars, panel discussions involving relevant stakeholders, and parallel technical sessions. Important dignitaries including H.E. Riina Kionka, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan; Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Governor Balochistan; Florence Rolle, FAO Country representative; Najy Benhassine, Country Director for Pakistan for the South Asia region, The World Bank Group, attended and contributed to the proceedings of the conference. In addition, PSDE’s conference was attended by Vice Chancellors, civil servants, technocrats, economists, development practitioners, entrepreneurs, academicians, policymakers, students, and relevant stakeholders. In total, approximately 400 participants physically attended the Conference each day but with online streaming and Social Networks, thousands participated and took away key messages from the sessions.

Pakistan Society of Development Economists has followed the tradition of engaging eminent scholars from within Pakistan and abroad to generate debate on key development issues. In 2022, Noble Laureate and Professors from Stanford, MIT and Oxford graced the conference by joining to discuss the main themes of the conference. Similarly, business leaders delivered Special Invited Lectures and were part of panel discussions during the three day conference. Moreover, 22 technical papers were presented by academics from around Pakistan and overseas to touch upon different aspects of the conference themes. In sum, we had Six Invited Lectures, Six Panel Discussions, 2 special Session, 2 debates, 6 parallel technical sessions and an Open Mic session to discuss the said themes of the conference.

The distinguished lectures were delivered by Professor Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate and The Philip H. Knight Professor & Dean, Emeritus, Stanford University. We also had Professor David Autor, Ford Professor & Margaret Macvicar Faculty Fellow, MIT. Professor Nathan Lane also joined us for Keynote lecture from University of Oxford, UK.

Additionally, the special invited lectures to be delivered include: Lecture by Mr. Aezaz Hussain, Chairman & Founder, Visionet Systems and Chairman, Systems Limited. Lecture by Mr. Muhammad Ali Tabba, CEO Lucky Group and an invited lecture by Mr Abdul Samad Dawood, Vice Chairman, Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited.

Similarly, the six panel discussions from experts with diverse professional experience helped us decode major policy issues related to different themes of the conference. PSDE has also introduced a standalone debate segment this year, which took deliberations beyond the ‘Panel of Experts’ to include audiences in the conversation, whether that be online or in a physical capacity. This year more than 100 paper submissions were received, out of which 22 papers were selected for presentation at the conference.

This is the second consecutive year that PSDE has taken the conference out of Islamabad to the regional centres to add local context to our policy debates. PSDE is thankful to BUITEMS and the University of Balochistan for being wonderful hosts. Furthermore, this conference is also unique in the sense that it is not just a collaboration between two higher education institutes but in fact, we had presence of students and faculty from seven different Universities and two sub campuses from across Balochistan. These include: Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University; University of Gwadar; Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water & Marine Sciences; University of Loralai and University of Turbat along with two sub campuses of BUITEMS in Zhob and Muslim Bagh. Such efforts would help build networks, capable of harnessing long lasting relationships and much-needed academia-policymaker linkages, to put our country on the path of development.

It has been a tradition of the PSDE to finance students to attend the PSDE Conference each year in person. Despite deep financial constraints owing to extended lodging and boarding expenses, mainly due to air travel, PSDE kept this tradition alive and funded students from the Universities of Gwadar, Turbat, Loralai, Lasbaila and Zhob & Muslim Bagh campuses of BUITEMS.

Finally, PSDE is thankful for the support of the sponsors who remained collaborators in successfully organizing the conference. Sponsors’ support remained instrumental in making this conference happen and PSDE extends its sincere gratitude to all the donors for their support. Fourteen local and international sponsors supported the 36th PSDE conference.