U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited Pakistan where she announced several new programs the United States will undertake as part of its Strategic Dialogue with Pakistan. "We want to try to solve problems that have troubled our nations and our relationship for decades," said Secretary Clinton. "We want to contribute to building an enduring peace and lasting prosperity for Pakistan and this region."
Last October, Secretary Clinton announced the first phase of the U.S. Signature Energy Program for Pakistan, which is designed to help reduce blackouts that have plagued Pakistani cities and communities by increasing electricity generation, improving sector management, and introducing more efficient methods for utilizing electricity. On her most recent trip, Secretary Clinton announced the second phase, which includes the completion of 2 hydroelectric dam projects that will supply electricity to more than 280,000 people in South Waziristan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Secretary also announced a new Signature Water Program for Pakistan, which includes rebuilding the municipal water systems for Peshawar and Jacobabad. In Southern Punjab the U.S. will work with local governments to ensure that people have safe drinking water and basic services. The U.S. will also build water storage systems for Satpara dam to supply 3 million gallons of clean drinking water per day and for the Gomal Zam dam which will irrigate more than 76,890 hectares, reaching 30,000 farming families.
On the economic front, the government of Pakistan has enacted some important reforms in order to attract foreign investment and encourage business. Now, said Secretary Clinton, Pakistan "face(s) some hard choices, such as tax reforms that are needed to put Pakistan on the path to long-term economic prosperity."
Large numbers of young Pakistanis are seeking more economic opportunities. To that end, the U.S. will invest 100 million $ over the next 5 years to expand access to credit for small and medium size enterprises. And through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. will provide 50 million $ to leverage private equity investments in innovation and technology projects in Pakistan.
The U.S. said Secretary Clinton, "hope(s) that projects like these will translate into real-life improvements for families and communities. These are not one-time expenditures. They are long-term investments in Pakistan's future. We are committed to continuing our work with the government of Pakistan to find ways to deliver services and opportunities that the people need to have."