July 29, 2010

Lugar, Kerry call for Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced legislation today, S. 3665, that would lead to the establishment of the “Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund,” to focus on strengthening the private sector in Pakistan using existing funds from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package passed by Congress last year. The legislation will help to empower Pakistan’s private sector to create jobs, which will contribute toward 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.

A copy of the bill is available at http://lugar.senate.gov/issues/foreign/pakistan/.

“The failed attack that occurred on May 1, 2010, in Times Square re-enforces the need for our governments to work together to neutralize the imminent threats posed by terrorist waiting to strike, while simultaneously preventing the cancer of extremism from spreading and corrupting local communities in both our countries,” Lugar said. “The Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund will work with the private sector to catalyze indigenous job creation, which will empower the people of Pakistan to reject radical voices and, instead, build a stronger future for their families. Pakistan currently enjoys a vibrant private sector, especially among small and medium size enterprises, and the mission of this Fund will be to encourage greater business formation and expansion.”

“Pakistan’s private sector is suffering from a lack of capital due in large part to the political and security concerns on the ground. The United States can help the Pakistani private sector provide jobs, opportunity, and hope to Pakistanis using creative tools such as this Enterprise Fund,” Kerry said. “It’s a clear example of how the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package can help make a real difference in stimulating growth in Pakistan based on the remarkable results we have had with similar funds in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.  We introduce this legislation as a first step in a long process and hope that our Senate colleagues will move rapidly make this Enterprise Fund a reality.”

Before the fund is established, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate will have to approve the legislation. The House of Representative will also have to introduce and pass the legislation. 

The Lugar-Kerry Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund:

  1. Authorizes the President of the United States to establish a Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund utilizing existing funds granted under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman funds) 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 4 private citizens of the United States and 3 private citizens of Pakistan, who will serve without compensation and leverage their experience and expertise operating in international and emerging markets to oversee the Fund, which will be based in Pakistan.
  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 monies 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, funded $74 million in technical assistance to strengthen the private sector, and is expected to recoup 137% of the original USAID funding.

###

Press Contact

Andy Fisher (Lugar) (202) 224-2079

Fred Jones (Kerry) (202) 228-2950