Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday met African Envoys based in Islamabad to review Pakistan’s engagement with Africa, identify impediments to fulfilling its true potential and chart a way forward.
Held under the rubric of the Government’s “Engage Africa” initiative, the meeting was attended by Envoys from Algeria, Kenya, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia.
Recalling the long history of close friendly relations with Africa, the Foreign Minister noted that Pakistan had supported African struggle of freedom from the yoke of colonialism and remained a trustworthy partner in the maintenance of peace and security with the Continent.
He underlined that as part of “Engage Africa” Initiative, Pakistan was significantly enhancing its diplomatic footprint and economic engagement in Africa.
The success of the Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference, held in January 2020 in Nairobi, highlighted the untapped potential of bilateral trade and investment ties, and underscored the mutual desire to take them to a higher level, he added.
The Foreign Minister observed that Pakistan had recorded a 7% growth in trade with Africa over the last year, despite the COVID-19 related social and economic challenges.
He also apprised the participants about the outcome of the virtual meeting with Pakistan’s Heads of Mission in African capitals, held on Wednesday, during which he had encouraged them to cultivate and broaden mutually beneficial partnerships with African countries, focusing on trade, investments and tourism.
African Envoys gave valuable suggestions to enhance mutually beneficial partnership between Pakistan and Africa.
The participants, inter alia, observed that, besides potential at the bilateral level, conclusion last year of the historic agreement on establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) – geographically the largest trading bloc – presented an excellent opportunity for enhancing trade and economic ties.
The Foreign Minister welcomed African Envoys’ views and valuable suggestions and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to forging stronger Pakistan-Africa partnership that helps advance the shared objectives and takes mutual cooperation to a new level.
This was the fourth of a series of meetings on Economic Diplomacy that the Foreign Minister was hosting. His region-specific interactions will continue.