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January 29, 2020

Pak-Africa trade development conference opens tomorrow

National

January 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The first-ever Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference, hosted jointly by the Ministries of Commerce and Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, will be held in Nairobi on 30-31 January 2020.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi left for Nairobi on Tuesday where he starts off the event with first interacting with the Kenyan leadership. The government hopes that his visit will serve to reaffirm the historic ties of friendship, and further expand the scope of multi-faceted cooperation.

“During the visit, he will hold meetings with the Kenyan leadership, including Cabinet Secretaries for Foreign Affairs & International Trade, African Community and Northern Corridor Development, Transport and Ports, as well as for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives,” announced the Foreign Office.

The conference is part of Pakistan’s ‘Engage Africa’ initiative, which is in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to forge closer political and economic ties with the African continent, and place a stronger accent on economic diplomacy.

For reasons best known to Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, announcement and details of this first-ever Pakistan-Africa Trade Conference and participation of the foreign minister were only announced while Qureshi was leaving the country.

Besides Foreign Minister Qureshi, Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood will participate in the conference. Both the foreign minister and the adviser will address the inaugural session.

This conference is a step in the right direction where Kenyan cabinet members, dignitaries from other African states and Pakistani envoys in Africa will be in attendance. It will also be attended by a strong contingent of business-people and entrepreneurs from Pakistan, who will interact with their African counterparts. In all, some 300 participants are expected to attend.

“Africa’s increasing integration and growth momentum together with Pakistan’spotential as a connectivity hub has opened multiple avenues for win-win collaboration. The conference will provide a platform for G2G and B2B interaction. It will be an important opportunity for Pakistani and African businesses to interface, identify the areas for enhanced engagement and develop proposals for customised economic collaboration,” said the Foreign Office.

Pakistan has been a long-standing partner of Africa -- from extending assistance in freedom struggles from colonial yoke, to supporting peace and security through participation in multiple peace-keeping operations under the UN auspices.

“Pakistan enjoys fraternal relations with all African partners, including Kenya, grounded in shared interests, mutual respect and mutual support,” said the FO statement.