LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry LCCI hosted its annual ‘Ambassadors’ Dinner’, which was attended by different ambassadors and high commissioners posted in Pakistan including those of Poland, Hungary, England, Ukraine, Palestine, Indonesia, Vietnam, Czech Republic, South Africa, Norway, Yemen, Sudan, Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and others countries, along with top government officials. The diplomats mingled with the participants and exchanged views with them.
President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi was the Chief Guest for the event, accompanied by LCCI President Kashif Anwar and Convener of the Standing Committee, Ibrahim Sheikh, who addressed the gathering.
Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt, former LCCI office-bearers, Executive Committee Members, and prominent businessmen were also present.
In his address, President Alvi emphasized the international responsibility for maintaining peace as a fundamental element for promoting trade. He called upon the world to prioritise equitable development as a means to combat the issue of brain drain from developing nations.
Dr Alvi pointed to Europe as an example, highlighting how increased mutual trade had contributed to global peace but stressed the need for further efforts to create conducive global atmosphere.
He expressed Pakistan's desire for the developed world to share its expertise in information technology, recognising that brain drain leads to the loss of talented individuals despite significant investments in their education.
He underscored the importance of equitable development to enable such individuals to contribute to their home countries.
He urged the diplomats to encourage their respective business communities to take advantage of Pakistan's renewed commitment to attract investment, particularly in specific sectors, through a streamlined one-window facility.
Reflecting on his previous meeting with LCCI President, Dr Alvi emphasised the importance of involving women in the workforce, supporting individuals with disabilities, and working toward environmental sustainability, emphasising that these responsibilities extend to all members of society.
LCCI President Kashif Anwar highlighted the organisation's century-long history of serving as a premier business support entity, acknowledging the invaluable role played by the diplomatic community.
He emphasised the need to cultivate strong relations with the diplomatic community, which can significantly contribute to enhancing trade and economic ties between their respective countries and Pakistan.
Diplomats, he stressed, play a vital role in promoting economic diplomacy, essential for global commerce and economic growth.
Kashif Anwar called for projecting Pakistan as a compelling case for developing trade and economic relations globally, emphasizing the country's resilience and its emergence as a safe destination for business and foreign investments.
He specifically mentioned the establishment of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), aimed at expediting new investments across various sectors, including Defence, Agriculture, Minerals & Mining, Information Technology/ Telecommunication, and Energy.
He invited diplomats to inform investors from their countries about the SIFC, assuring them of top-priority facilitation for investments in Pakistan.
He highlighted Pakistan's strategic location, abundant natural resources, and a young, skilled workforce, making it an attractive hub for global businesses seeking expansion and growth opportunities.
He humbly urged foreign diplomatic community members to promote Pakistan's investment potential in their home countries, particularly among the business community.
He also emphasized a broader vision beyond economic cooperation, highlighting the importance of mutual collaboration and knowledge sharing. In today's interconnected world, the transfer of knowledge and technology plays a central role in fostering growth and innovation.
As Pakistan seeks to strengthen ties with both developed and developing countries, he called on diplomats to facilitate partnerships and collaborations that can enhance the skill set of Pakistan's workforce and drive technological advancements.
Kashif Anwar concluded by envisioning a future where Pakistan emerges as a hub of economic growth across various sectors through international partnerships. He expressed eagerness to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of international friends to achieve economic self-sufficiency and emphasised the pivotal role of cooperation and assistance in realizing these objectives.
Together, he emphasized, they can open doors to new markets and build bridges of prosperity, ultimately addressing Pakistan's core economic challenges. Cooperation and assistance from the international community are pivotal in achieving these goals.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023