ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a webinar, on Wednesday, emphasised the need for enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and African nations in all areas of mutual interest including trade, economy, and investment.
The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organised a webinar on “Pakistan-Tanzania Ties” with key speaker, Mohammad Saleem, High Commissioner of Pakistan to Tanzania.
In his remarks, Saleem said that Tanzania is an important country of Africa and “it is the most populous country of Africa” with the largest consumer market.
He pointed out that the headquarters of East African Community (EAC) is based in Tanzania and it also holds the temporary seat of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
He said that there is enormous scope of trade and investment for Pakistan in Tanzania.
While talking about imports and exports between Pakistan and Tanzania, he said that Pakistan’s exports to Tanzania mainly include cement, textiles, rice and sugar and besides these articles, spare parts of heavy machinery and tractors are also exported.
He said that imports of Pakistan from Tanzania mainly include tea, raw cotton, tobacco, edible oils, and tanning materials and with a lot of potential to explore.
He said that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) is a substantial opportunity for Pakistan to tap into the African markets, adding that East Africa is a gateway to exploit the business opportunities in Africa and it will open the vistas of opportunities for Pakistan to benefit from.
He said that Pakistan shares close ties with Tanzania and it established its High Commission in the country in 1967 when Pakistan expressed its support for Tanzania in getting independence from the British colonial rule.
Saleem said that Tanzania is also working to open its High Commission in Pakistan.
Tanzeela Qambrani, member provincial assembly of Sindh, said that it was encouraging that Pakistan has started connecting with the African continent.
She said that it is surprising that there has not been much focus on Africa in the past in Pakistan even though the former holds great opportunities.
While talking about Pakistan-Africa relations, she said that “Engage Africa” is a great initiative by the government of Pakistan.
She said that Pakistan has very close bonds with Africa, especially with Tanzania and was hopeful that this connection would be fruitful for both countries.
Amina Khan, director CAMEA said that during the last two decades, Africa has made remarkable progress, as African economies are among the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Hence, Africa has rightly earned the title of the “Continent of the Future”, she said.
She said that one of the fundamental objectives of establishing CAMEA at the ISSI was to focus on identifying areas of mutual interest between Pakistan and Africa in keeping with Pakistan’s Engage Africa policy.
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the government of Pakistan is committed to working and promoting ties with Africa.
He said one of the high priority areas for Pakistan’s Foreign Office is engaging with the African continent.
He also stated that Tanzania, an important country, with an almost 30 percent more in area than Pakistan and a population which is a third of Pakistan’s population - has considerable potential.
There is a genuine feeling of goodwill between Pakistan and Tanzania, he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021