President Dr. Arif Alvi, on Wednesday, stressed upon the need for Pakistan to boost its collaborations with the African region on areas of common interest, including education, health, security, trade, tourism, and climate change.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony two-day Envoys Conference, titled “Engage Africa”, President Alvi highlighted the similarities between Pakistan and the African countries and mapped out the scope of cooperation with Islamabad.
Addressing two-day Envoys' Conference titled "Engage Africa," President Dr. Arif Alvi has emphasized on enhanced collaboration between Pakistan and the African region in common priority areas of peace, education, health, trade, tourism and climate change. pic.twitter.com/B17TOP53fp
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President Alvi stressed the need for Pakistan and African nations to work towards close cooperation, particularly in the realms of defense and trade in order to promote prosperity and peace in their regions.
President Alvi said, as reported by Radio Pakistan, “Pakistan’s economy is improving; we have a thriving middle class and our country is opening up to the world. Pakistan is emerging as a land of opportunities and foreign investment is also increasing by the day.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also addressed the attendees and put forward Islamabad’s desire to enhance cooperation and communication with African nations.
The Foreign Minister said, “Pakistan has initiated economic diplomacy under which we are committed to enhancing our exports around the world. Pakistan has strong political and diplomatic ties with African countries and there is immense potential for increased trade and greater economic partnerships.”
An official communique, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, apprised of its Envoys Conference focused on African countries. The Foreign Office stated that Pakistan has always enjoyed cordial relations with African nations, marked with mutual trust and understanding.
Underscoring the aims of the Conference, the statement noted, “Consistent with the vision of the leadership, and priorities of the Government, the Conference aims at deepening Pakistan’s engagement with Africa in diverse fields.”
“The Conference shall bring together the Pakistani Envoys posted in Africa with important stakeholders including senior leadership from relevant Ministries and Departments and representatives of the private sector.”
African Markets: Opportunities for Pakistan
The Foreign Office observed that Africa is the second-largest continent, comprising of 54 sovereign states that are home to 1.2 billion people and the largest population of youth in the world. The official statement added that Africa enjoys a collective GDP of over US $2.3 trillion and an import market of around $500 billion.
It stated, “Due to its rich natural resources and growing middle-class consumer market, the World Bank has predicted that most African countries will reach middle-income status by 2025. This presents a tremendous opportunity for Pakistani goods and services.”
The press release highlighted that as part of UN peace-keeping missions, Pakistan has made “a significant contribution for peace, security and development on the Continent over the past several decades.”
The Envoy’s Conference will allow its participants to “deliberate on ways and means to further strengthen existing relations with African countries and diversify and deepen political, economic, security and socio-cultural ties.”
The FO press release added, “The Conference will also provide leading manufacturers, exporters and IT organizations the opportunity to brief the Pakistani Envoys on potential goods and services which can be exported to African markets.”
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“Furthermore, leading academics and representatives of think-tanks will share their perspectives and recommendations.”
Aside from the Foreign Minister, the Conference will also be addressed by Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Chairman Board of Investment, and Governor of State Bank of Pakistan. It will also host interaction with the resident Ambassadors of Africa serving in Pakistan.
In the closing session, the Envoys put forward recommendations outlining a way forward for “robust engagement between Pakistan and Africa”, which will be presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan.