Business Times (Malaysia)
THE Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) needs to do more to
convert its abundant human and physical resources into economic achievement,
Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf said.
He called for reforms within the grouping, and proposed several ways
to further boost OIC trade and investment.
“The starting point for achieving growth has to be the reform of our
domestic economic policies. Unless our policies are market-friendly and
pro-business, it will be hard for us to promote intra-OIC trade or investment,”
Musharraf was speaking at a special OIC leaders forum themed
“Facilitating Growth, Advancing Peace Through Cooperation in the OIC Nations”
at the OIC Business Forum in Putrajaya yesterday.
He said active participation in regional economic groupings like the
Arab Maghreb Union, African Union and the Association of South-East Asian
Nations, can enhance economic cooperation between OIC countries.
Musharraf said OIC members should also support the growth of small-
and medium-sized industries, and strengthen their respective business brands
to achieve greater success internationally.
” The success of Al-Jazeera and Mecca Cola are examples of the
penetrative effect of successful brands . Seed investments in innovative
OIC companies with potential for branding should be considered,” he said.
Musharraf also suggested focussing intra-OIC ventures on clusters of
industries, including energy, agri-business, financial services, and information
and communications technology.
He said a team comprising top officials and businessmen from OIC
countries should be tasked with making sure that pronouncements of cooperation
among member countries are converted into reality.
He said affiliated agencies of the OIC like the Islamic Development
Bank and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, should look into the
restructuring of the OIC.
Musharraf also shared Pakistan’s experience in reforming its own
economy. He said Pakistan has become more investor-friendly by adjusting
domestic economic policies, reducing interest rates and increasing the
profitability of the country’s investors.