ICCI celebrates Africa Day: Pak committed to deepen ties with African nations: Speakers

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ICCI celebrates Africa Day

ISLAMABAD, MAY 25 /DNA/ – Africa, with its diverse cultures, vibrant traditions and spirit stands as a testament to the resilience of its people. From the struggle for independence to the pursuit of development, Africa has demonstrated its commitment to progress, prosperity and peace. This has been stated by Mr. Shehryar Akbar Khan Additional Foreign Secretary while addressing a conspicuous Africa Day ceremony organized by Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said that since the launch of the Engage Africa Policy in 2019, Pakistan has successfully executed Phase-1 of the policy, which involves opening of five resident Missions in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Djibouti, and Rwanda and up gradation of  two missions to Ambassadorial level in Tanzania and Niger, and that options are being explored to enhance our engagements with Africa by opening one embassy per year.

He added that Pakistan is committed to deepening its ties with the African nations and transforming it into meaningful partnerships and its proof is that in the last seven months, we have processed ten MoUs on establishing bilateral political consultations with various African countries.

Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia have successfully launched social identification systems established by NADRA and that after the resumption of direct flights from Addis Ababa to Karachi by Ethiopian Airlines, discussions are underway to extend the flights operations   to Lahore and Islamabad.

Senator (R) Mushahid Hussain Syed said that there is a massive potential for growing economic and trade ties between Pakistan and African countries. He said that prominent African national leaders in the post-colonial era had always acknowledged the overwhelming moral, diplomatic and material support their countries had received from Pakistan for ensuring their survival and growth soon after securing independence.

President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said that Pakistan’s relations with Africa are characterized by mutual respect, solidarity and cooperation. Pakistan is actively engaged in capacity-building programs, training diplomats, providing scholarships, and offering military training to African countries. Pakistan and Africa can unlock new opportunities for trade, investment, and partnership, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development and prosperity of both regions.

As far as the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) is concerned it is all set to develop a Sister Cities Economic nexus with the chambers of cities that have established sister city agreements with Islamabad, he added.

 Islamabad has signed sister city agreements with 20 cities worldwide, including three in Africa: Rabat (Morocco), Khartoum (Sudan), and Tunis (Tunisia). We are also planning to invite all Presidents of sister city chambers of commerce and industry in August to develop cooperation mechanisms.

He went on to say that ICCI delegations recent  visits successfully explored new  avenues of partnership with African nations.

I shall like to request the esteemed support of the respective Excellences to ensure the success of this initiative to bring the countries closer for the promotion of Business to Business, People to people, and academia linkages for the benefit of all the stakeholders, he further said.

Ambassador of Morocco and Dean of African Corps H.E Mohammad Karmoune in his speech underlined the need for close cooperation between Pakistan and the African nations to overcome challenges of climate change which are badly impacting the economic development at global level. He said that both sides have to work closely to ensure food security, water management, high yield productivity, climate resilient crops to mitigate the negativity and ensure sustainable growth.

Ambassador of Algeria, H.E Brahim Romani said that his country wants to develop strong trade and economic ties with Pakistan as both countries have good potential to cooperate with each other in many areas.

Ambassador of Mauritius  H.E Rashid Ally Soobadar said that diplomatic and economic relations between Mauritius and Pakistan were growing with each passing day and that Pakistan enjoys immense potential to become a world class tourist destination. He suggested that a core group comprising business community leaders from Pakistan and the African States be established to chalk out the future course of action for strengthening economic ties and enhancing trade volumes for the benefit of the people of both sides.

Ambassador of the Republic of Somalia, H.E.Shirwa Abdullahi Ibrahim said both Somalia and Pakistan  have been developing a fruitful and close relationship. He acknowledged that both countries continue to learn from each other’s experiences in these critical areas.

Chairman Founder Group, Khalid Iqbal Malik while mentioning the benefits of investments in Pakistan said that it is high time for friendly African countries to come forward and avail the opportunity.

Chairman Pakistan Africa Friendship Association ( PAFA) and Secretary General United Business Group Zafar Bakhtawari underlined the need for air connectivity with African countries, especially with Egypt and Morocco for promotion of tourism. He also said that PAFA plans to organize events to commemorate the national heroes of African countries like Nelson Mandela,  Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella,  Habib Bourguiba and others.

Senior Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Faad Waheed said that frequent meetings of Pakistani and African business leaders are the need of the hour to achieve the cherished goal of enhancing business ties.

All the speakers  highly commended  the services of Zafar Bakhtawari for fostering ties between Pakistan and the African nations  by declaring him a true Pakistani,  working hard for the cause.

Ambassador of Palestine, and Head of Missions of Egypt Sudan, Libya and Nigeria also attended the ceremony.

Renowned Psychologist Fatima Hassan efficiently performed the duty of stage Secretary.