Post Event Report
Guest Lecture on “Pakistan-Africa Relations: Potential and Challenges”
Guest Lecturer: Qazi M. Khalilullah, Additional Secretary (ME & A) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad
Date and venue: March 17, 2015, IPRI Conference Hall
Following are the salient features highlighted by the speaker:-
- The African continent is very important as it is so diverse, dynamic and rich in its tradition and culture. It is the second largest continent in the world with fifty-four sovereign states and a collective GDP of $2.20 trillion. Growth rate for Africa for 2015 is projected at 4.5%. It was about 5% in 2014. Out of fifty-seven members of OIC, twenty-seven members are from African Continent.
- Africa is rich in natural and mineral resources and is called world’s storehouse of strategic raw materials. While eighty per cent of world’s platinum and chromium reserves, sixty per cent of diamond reserves and forty per cent of gold reserves are located in African continent. Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are rich in gold, diamonds, gas, rice, copper, tea, coca, cotton, metals and oil resources.
- Africa has become the centre of attraction for major powers and important countries such as United States, China, European Union members and India, etc. It is receiving renewed focus from all over the world and is being seen as “the Continent of the future”.
- Pakistan-African relations stand today on solid grounds in a rapidly changing world. The independent African states and Pakistan are among the developing countries which are aiming at rapid development and economic independence. Pakistan shares with African nations more or less a common background and similar post independence problems. Therefore, Pakistan has sought closer economic, social and cultural cooperation with the African nation states. In this regard, it has resident missions’ in fourteen African countries including Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, South Africa, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia while other thirty-nine African countries are covered through concurrent accreditation.
- Pakistan is offering training facilities to African diplomats in the Foreign Service Academy, Defence Services Academies and also educational scholarships under Pakistan Technical Assistance Programme (PTAP). In this regard, the training and academic courses include: Public Administration, Diplomacy, Agriculture, Banking and Finance, Postal, Railways, Human Resource Management and Professional disciplines (Medicine, Engineering).
- The main objective of the PTAP is to earn the goodwill of beneficiary countries and to project positive image of Pakistan. Pakistanhas trained more than 1500 personnel in various fields underPTAP.
- Pakistan, as an active member of the Uniting for Consensus (UFC), engages closely with African countries to share and understand each other’s perspectives and to pursue common objectives. The UFC and African positions are compatible in many ways, most notably on regional representation and rotation of non-permanent seats of the Security Council.
- Pakistan and African countries are cooperating in many international forums, especially at the UN Security Council.
- Pakistan is linked with Africa through Asian African Regional Organization Conference (AASROC), Non-Aligned Movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation and several Muslim countries through Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). These fora provide institutional framework for cooperation between Pakistan and Africa.
- The important role Pakistan has played in the decolonization of these countries and maintenance of peace by Pakistani soldiers through the UN peace keeping missions are indeed commendable. Pakistan has been the highest contributor of troops (more than 8000 military and law enforcement personnel) to various UN Peacekeeping Operations. Now it is the propitious moment to translate this political goodwill into tangible trade and commercial relations.
- Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the African countries and is serious in promoting economic relations with them.
- The main objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to promote foreign relations through economic diplomacy. Despite challenges, there is a great potential for mutually beneficial relations with African counties.
- There is a great potential for further promoting and strengthening Pakistan’s relations with African countries especially in the field of trade and commerce. Therefore, there is a need for taking tangible measures for promoting trade relations between them.
- Pakistan has recorded significant achievement in the fields of science and technology, information technology, telecommunication, agriculture and agro-allied industries. In many of the above mentioned fields, Pakistani experience shared with African countries is invaluable.
- The economic potential present in African countries should be fully utilised by Pakistan.
- There is a great potential for further promoting Pakistan-Africa ties in all fields with the help of more people to people contacts, organizing seminars on trade promotion and Pakistani exhibitions. This would facilitate in identification of areas where mutual trade and investment are feasible.
- There is a need to create awareness among our businessmen, investors and traders about the huge economic potential of Africa.