Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to establishing a stronger partnership between Pakistan and Africa to advance common goals and to take mutual cooperation to a new level.
While meeting African envoys based in Islamabad to evaluate Pakistan’s engagement with Africa, Qureshi said this, recognizing obstacles to fulfilling its real potential and charting a way forward.
The Foreign Office said the meeting was attended by envoys from Algeria, Kenya, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan, and Tunisia, under the heading of the government’s ‘Engage Africa’ initiative.
Recalling the long history of close friendly ties with Africa, the Foreign Minister pointed out that Pakistan supported the African struggle to free itself from the yoke of colonialism and remained a trustworthy partner to the Continent in preserving peace and stability.
Qureshi stressed that Pakistan was substantially expanding its diplomatic presence and economic engagement in Africa as part of the ‘Engage Africa’ initiative.
The success of the Pakistan-Africa Trade Growth Conference, which took place in Nairobi in January 2020, underscored the untapped potential of bilateral trade and investment relations and underlined the shared desire to take them to a higher level.
He noted that over the last year, despite the Covid-19-related social and economic challenges, Pakistan had reported a seven percent growth in trade with Africa.
The Foreign Minister also told the participants of the outcome of the virtual meeting held on Wednesday with Pakistan’s Heads of Mission in African capitals, during which he encouraged them to cultivate and extend mutually beneficial partnerships with African countries, with a focus on trade, investment and tourism.
The statement by the Foreign Office added that useful suggestions were made by the African envoys who attended the meeting to strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between Pakistan and Africa.
The participants observed, inter alia, that the conclusion last year of the historic Agreement creating the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), geographically the largest trading bloc, in addition to the potential at bilateral level, offered an excellent opportunity to improve trade and economic relations, he added.
The Foreign Minister welcomed the views and useful suggestions of African envoys and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to building a stronger partnership between Pakistan and Africa that helps advance common goals and brings mutual cooperation to a new stage.
This was the fourth in a series of meetings the foreign minister is holding on economic diplomacy.
He will continue his region-specific interactions, the statement added.