September 22, 2010

Foreign Relations Committee Passes Legislation To Promote And Strengthen The Private Sector In Pakistan

Washington, D.C.---The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed bipartisan legislation yesterday approving the Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund, S.3665, which will focus on strengthening the private sector in Pakistan using existing funds from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package passed by Congress last year.  This legislation will empower Pakistan’s private sector by creating jobs and opportunities, which will contribute to increasing economic growth and stability. The Fund is modeled after successful post-Cold War funds established by the United States 20 years ago for the development of Eastern Europe.

“Last month, I saw first-hand the gut-wrenching devastation created by the floods in Pakistan.  In its aftermath, millions of Pakistanis are struggling to provide for their families,” said Chairman Kerry.  “The Enterprise Fund is a creative way to help the private sector in Pakistan provide jobs, opportunity, and hope for the people of that country.  This is a clear example of how the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package can help stimulate growth in Pakistan.  Today, the Committee took another important step forward to make the Enterprise Fund a reality.”

The Kerry-Lugar Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund:

  1. Authorizes the President of the United States to establish a Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund utilizing existing funds approved under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 and leverage these resources to provide direct financial capital and technical assistance to commercially viable small and medium sized businesses in a way uniquely suited to Pakistan’s fragile economy.
  2. Authorizes the President of the United States to appoint a Board of Directors, comprised of four private citizens of the United States and three private citizens of Pakistan, who will leverage their experience and expertise operating in international and emerging markets to oversee the Fund.
  3. Requires that assets of the Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund at the time the Fund is dissolved, no later than Dec. 31, 2020, shall be returned to the General Fund of the United States and used to reduce the debt of the United States.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. Congress, through enactment of the Support for East European Development (SEED) Act and the Freedom Support Act (FSA), authorized nearly $1.2 billion for USAID to establish ten new enterprise funds throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. These funds channeled investment into more than 500 enterprises in 19 countries, leveraged an additional $5 billion in private investment capital from outside the U.S. government, provided substantial development capital where supply was limited, created or sustained more than 260,000 jobs through investment and development activities, and funded $74 million in technical assistance to strengthen the private sector. The fund is expected to recoup 137% of the original USAID expenditure.


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