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Saturday June 22, 2024

Pak-Africa businessmen can benefit from opportunities in continent: Moroccon envoy

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
June 09, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Dean of African Group and Ambassador of Morocco Mohammad Karmoune on Thursday said that Africa has a significant role to play in driving inclusive growth and sustainable development globally. He said the business communities from Africa and Pakistan can collaborate in order to benefit from numerous opportunities in the Continent. He was speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) on Thursday, which organised a Round Table Discussion on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The African missions in Pakistan, in collaboration with the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) coordinated the gathering.

The envoy said that the implementation of the AfCFTA will undoubtedly unveil an excellent potential for further growth in Pakistan-Africa trade and economic relations. The AfCFTA is the common will of the 54 African countries to build a common market for goods and services, unlock the potential for the development of the Continent, and increase the inter-state trade among African countries. Ambassador Muhammad Karmoune stressed that the main objective of AfCFTA is the Continent’s economic integration and development. Additional Foreign Secretary (Africa) Javed Ahmad Umerani, Wankele Mene, Secretary General AfCFTA in Accra, Ghana (through Zoom); Director General ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood; Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BoG ISSI, and Director CAMEA, Ms Amina Khan also spoke on the occasion. The Heads of African Missions in Pakistan and Heads of Pakistan Missions in Africa also delivered speeches.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood said that for several years now, Pakistan’s engagement with Africa continues to grow steadily, adding that “Engage Africa” policy being pursued by Pakistan seeks to expand its diplomatic footprint in Africa and forge a robust economic partnership with the Continent. The Ministry of Commerce’s “Look Africa” initiative has been instrumental in the convening of three Trade and Investment Conferences in key economic centers in Africa and has led to an increase in two-way trade. As the process of integration and economic development accelerates in Africa, there are vast opportunities to be tapped for both African nations and their international partners including Pakistan.

The most crucial requirement is to make sure that the business communities and potential investors on both sides are fully aware and cognisant of the opportunities being opened up by AfCFTA. In this regard, a continuous flow of information and dynamic interface among all key stakeholders in Pakistan and Africa remain indispensable, he said. CAMEA Director Amina Khan said that AfCFTA represents significant growth potential for the African economy, as it establishes a structure for fostering regional economic integration, growth, and progress throughout the Continent. The agreement has the potential to offer Pakistan fresh avenues to enhance its trade and investment connections with African nations, thus generating business and reinforcing economic relations.

Javed Ahmad Umrani underlined how AfCFTA represents a historic milestone, uniting the African nations under a single market, and creating a platform for economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development. He said that Pakistan reaffirms its unwavering support for the objectives and aspirations of the AfCFTA and recognises the immense potential that lies in deepening our economic engagement and forging stronger trade links with our African partners. He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the AfCFTA’s objectives, efforts to overcome the challenges, and work in tandem with its African partners. Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BoG ISSI highlighted the need to understand how Pakistan can benefit from the opportunities emerging through AfCFTA and stressed the importance of Pakistan’s deeper engagement with the African Continent through its “Engage Africa” Policy. The event was part of the commemoration of Africa Day 2023 in Pakistan as well as continuous efforts to realize the full potential of Pakistan-Africa economic relations in the context of pivot to geo-economics as well.