Islamabad, 25 May 2022 (TDI): The Institute of Strategic Studies’ Centre for Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa (CAMEA) hosted a Public Talk to honor Africa Day.
— Centre for Afghanistan Middle East & Africa -CAMEA (@CAMEA_ISSI) May 25, 2022
Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ambassador Ali Javed, Additional Foreign Secretary Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, General Nadeem Raza, NI (M), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Dr. Peter Mathuki, Secretary General East African Community (EAC) and Mohammed Karmoune, Dean of the African Corps and Ambassador of Morocco to Pakistan were among the distinguished speakers.
Representatives from African missions in Pakistan, Pakistani missions in Africa, non-resident African missions in Pakistan, academics, businesspeople, and students attended the event. On the occasion, stalls portraying African culture were also set up.
Remarks by Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari:
Earlier in his remarks, the Foreign Minister expressed his heartfelt congratulations to the people of Africa. He stated that Africa Day honors the heroic battles of the African peoples for independence from colonial rule and its rich cultural history and great economic potential.
Pakistan is proud of its contribution to assisting African liberation movements via political and diplomatic channels. The shared history of Pakistan and Africa serves as the foundation for mutual trust, making both countries ideal allies.
He went on to say that Africa is home to 12 of the world’s 25 fastest-growing economies. Today, Africa is a 1.4 billion-person superpower with a collective GDP of 2.6 trillion dollars and has just become the world’s largest inter-trade area, he said
According to the Foreign Minister, Pakistan has a long and rich tradition of maintaining good relations with Africa, dating back to the foundation of the African Union. Pakistan has provided development aid where it is required and has encouraged critical capacity-building programs across the continent.
He underlined that both sides’ political, economic, and security arrangements continued on an improving track. Pakistan has determined to increase trade and investment, which are now below potential. Pakistan’s ambition is to collaborate with African regional economic groups, particularly those in our immediate vicinities, such as the East African Community and ECOWAS.
Pakistan and Africa have always had tight defense and security collaboration, as well as rising counterterrorism coordination, demonstrating a new dimension in our overall security partnership. Pakistan has provided over 120,000 personnel over the last two decades, and 168 Pakistani military commanders and soldiers have sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice while undertaking peacekeeping duty on the African continent. He concluded by saying, “I reiterate our firm commitment to forging a stronger partnership with Africa in all areas of mutual endeavor and I reaffirm Pakistan’s full support to the aspiration of the African people for peace, progress, and development. Long live Pakistan-Africa friendship.”
Remarks by Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General of ISSI:
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General of ISSI, welcomed all participants at the inaugural session. Africa Day is a custom launched by the ISSI in 2019 to recognize the efforts African countries are making toward economic development.
He congratulated African diplomats in Pakistan, as well as Pakistani ambassadors in other African embassies. He stated that the process of commemorating Africa Day is in keeping with Pakistan’s aim to connect with Africa in economic and commercial areas.
This event would help raise awareness that Pakistan’s relations with Africa are of critical significance, he added.
Remarks by the Director of CAMEA:
Amina Khan, Director of CAMEA, moderated the Plenary Session. During her remarks, she stated that one of the main goals of CAMEA is to identify areas of mutual interest between Pakistan and Africa and to find ways to establish and strengthen Pakistan’s relations with the African continent through its Engage Africa policy.
She said it gave them great pleasure to be holding today’s event, as they did last year. She shared the topic of the 2022 Africa Day which was “Food and Nutrition Security.” The theme’s overarching goal is to obtain increased governmental commitment and investment in nutrition, as well as to solve the persistent nutrition difficulties confronting Africa and the rest of the globe. Pakistan-Africa ties are historically rooted in moral and material help offered to African liberation struggles.
Furthermore, Africa has long been regarded as a land of undiscovered potential for Pakistan, and with this premise in mind, Pakistan has been exploring a number of possibilities to further strengthen its bilateral ties with African nations, be it politically, economically, or in the realm of defense ties, under its Engage Africa’ policy. The creation of new missions in various regions of Africa demonstrates Pakistan’s relevance to Africa, and our three most recent missions have been created in Rwanda, Djibouti, and the Ivory Coast.
Remarks by General Nadeem Raza:
According to General Nadeem Raza, NI (M), Africa Day symbolizes the human spirit, sacrifices, love for peace and prosperity, and a desire to play an important part in the world arena. Pakistan and African countries have had cordial connections for decades. The similarities in the problems encountered by both sides offer significant potential in a variety of fields, including defense cooperation, which is a key component of Pakistan’s “Engage Africa Policy.” Pakistan has made significant contributions to African peace and security, and is now one of the main troop-providing countries, with over 4000 soldiers deployed in different UN operations in Africa. He stated unequivocally that the friendship and goodwill between Pakistan and Africa will expand in the future.
Remarks by Ambassador Mohammed Karmoune:
According to Ambassador Mohammed Karmoune, Africa Day is an occasion to reflect on Pakistan-Africa collaboration and to identify the best ways to move forward, such as through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). According to him, Pakistan has announced the opening of new embassies in Africa, and commerce between Africa and Pakistan has reached 4.8 billion dollars. He went on to suggest that Africans would want to see Pakistani businessmen participate in joint ventures in agriculture, banking, information technology, digital economy, textiles, and pharmaceuticals, among other disciplines.
More efforts are required to expand investment and trade volume between the two sides, as well as to provide an opportunity for commercial collaboration that may be strengthened in areas of mutual interest. Chambers of business from both Africa and Pakistan may exchange their skills in several fields. This includes supporting the construction of direct marine ties, developing links to promote people movement, hosting business delegations, and investigating the establishment of financial institutions. He believes that people-to-people exchanges would improve mutual understanding.
Remarks by Ambassador Ali Javed:
Ali Javed stated in his views on the Pakistan Government’s Engage Africa initiative that the future of Pak-Africa relations is in good hands. Pakistan’s growing diplomatic presence in Africa demonstrates this. More than 35 African countries are accredited to Pakistan, but Pakistan must maintain contact with them and seek to maintain bilateral relations with African countries. He went on to say that counter-terrorism (CT) activities have grown in importance across the world. Given that Pakistan is also dealing with CT, this is an area where the two countries may collaborate. He stated that Pakistan is attempting to encourage two-way tourism in order to learn about fresh and distinct cultures. “We are proud that several hundred African diplomats have received training in Pakistan and as has been the case with military and naval training, there will be joint military drills in the future as well.” It is critical that Pakistan and Africa work closely together so that both sides may profit from the immense potential of this partnership.
Remarks by Ambassador Khalid Mahmood:
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG ISSI, stated during his speech that Pakistan and Africa must work together to transform their friendship into a real partnership. Some African countries have had significant progress in promoting human rights. If completely enforced, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement will be extremely advantageous. Despite the fact that many people believe this is the Asian century, he believes it is the African century. Pakistan has extremely excellent connections with Africa and has been particularly supportive of African nations’ independence aspirations. There is now a developing economic and military partnership where there is great potential.