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“Pakistan is interested in deepening ties with African nations” – Newspaper

ISLAMABAD: Additional Foreign Secretary Shehryar Akbar Khan on Saturday said Pakistan was committed to deepening its ties with African nations and transforming them into meaningful partnerships.

He was speaking at the Africa Day ceremony organized by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). Khan said that in the last seven months they had processed 10 MoUs on establishing bilateral political consultations with various African countries.

He said that since the launch of the ‘Engage Africa Policy in 2019’, Pakistan had successfully executed Phase 1 of the policy, which involved the opening of five resident missions in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Djibouti and Rwanda and the improvement of two ambassador-level missions in Tanzania and Niger. He further said options were being explored to enhance engagements with Africa by opening one embassy per year.

Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Somalia have successfully rolled out social identification systems established by Nadra, and following the resumption of direct flights from Addis Ababa to Karachi by Ethiopia Airlines, talks are underway to expand operations flight to Lahore and Islamabad, the additional foreign secretary said. he said, adding that from the fight for independence to the pursuit of development, Africa has demonstrated its commitment to progress, prosperity and peace.

Former senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said there was huge potential for growth in economic and trade ties between Pakistan and African countries. He said that prominent African national leaders in the post-colonial era had always recognized the overwhelming moral, diplomatic and material support that their countries had received from Pakistan to ensure their survival and growth soon after gaining independence.

ICCI President Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said Pakistan and Africa could unlock new opportunities for trade, investment and partnership, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development and prosperity of both regions.

He said the ICCI was ready to develop ‘sister city’ economic nexus with city chambers that have established sister city agreements with Islamabad.

The federal capital has signed twinning agreements with 20 cities around the world, including three in Africa: Rabat (Morocco), Khartoum (Sudan) and Tunis (Tunisia).

“We are also planning to invite all presidents of the sister cities’ chambers of commerce and industry in August to develop cooperation mechanisms,” Bakhtwari added.

the ambassador of Morocco and dean of the African Corps, Mohammad Karmoune; Algerian Ambassador Brahim Romani, Mauritius Ambassador Rashid Ally Soobadar and Somalia’s Envoy Shirwa Abdullahi Ibrahim spoke on developing close relationship with Pakistan.

Pakistan Africa Friendship Association (PAFA) President and United Business Group General Secretary Zafar Bakhtawari underlined the need for air connectivity with African countries, especially Egypt and Morocco, for the promotion of tourism.

Published in Dawn, May 26, 2024

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