The first-ever Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference, a two-day event jointly hosted by Islamabad’s ministries of Commerce and Foreign Affairs, will commence in Nairobi on Thursday (Jan. 30).
According to a press release issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has already reached Kenya to participate in the event, which will also be attended by dignitaries from several African states. Adviser to the P.M. on Commerce, Trade and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood would also attend the conference, it said. Both Qureshi and Dawood would address the inaugural session, it added.
The foreign minister is set to hold meetings with Kenya’s leadership, including cabinet secretaries for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, African Community and Northern Corridor Development, Transport and Ports, as well as for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
Part of Pakistan’s ‘Engage Africa’ initiative, the conference aligns with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of closer political and economic ties between Islamabad and nations of the African continent. It also seeks to emphasize Pakistan’s desire for economic diplomacy.
The Foreign Office press release said that the conference would include members of the Kenyan Cabinet, dignitaries from other African states and Pakistani envoys in Africa. Businesspersons and entrepreneurs from Pakistan would also attend it to give them a chance to interact with their African counterparts. “In all, some 300 participants are expected to attend,” it added.
“Africa’s increasing integration and growth momentum, together with Pakistan’s potential as a connectivity hub, has opened multiple avenues for win-win collaboration,” it said, noting that this was an excellent platform to expand government-to-government and business-to-business interactions. “It will be an important opportunity for Pakistani and African businesses to interface, identify the areas for enhanced engagement, and develop proposals for customized economic collaboration,” it added.
Pakistan has long maintained strong ties with African nations, extending assistance to freedom struggles and supporting peace and security through its participation in multiple peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the U.N. In particularly, says the Foreign Office statement, Islamabad enjoys fraternal relations with all African partners due to shared interests, mutual respect and mutual support. “The foreign minister’s visit will serve to reaffirm the historic ties of friendship, and further expand the scope of multi-faceted cooperation,” it added.