January 07, 2020: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says Islamabad's ‘Engage Africa’ initiative is aimed at expanding Pakistan’s diplomatic footprint and deepening economic engagement with Africa.
He was chairing the third virtual meeting on economic diplomacy with Pakistani envoys in African countries on Wednesday.
The Minister said Pakistan’s outreach and presence in Africa are being significantly enhanced under this initiative.
Noting the importance of Africa as the “continent of future”, with 54 countries and a population of 1.3 billion, he said, Pakistan enjoys friendly relations and political goodwill in African countries that need to be translated into a more robust economic partnership.
Underlining the shift from geopolitics to geo-economics, Shah Mahmood Qureshi emphasized the importance of economic diplomacy as a key component of modern diplomatic practice.
He said the envoy's conference on Africa was held in November 2019, followed by the first-ever Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference in Nairobi in January last year. He remarked that the initiative has started paying off, with a seven percent growth in Pakistan’s trade with Africa, despite the Covid-19 related challenges.
The Foreign Minister encouraged envoys to cultivate and broaden mutually beneficial trade and economic partnerships with African countries, focusing on key goals of trade promotion, financial inflows, investments, remittances, tourism, and technology transfer.
The Foreign Minister has been regularly holding virtual meetings on economic diplomacy with Pakistani Envoys in key countries.
Yesterday’s virtual Envoys meeting focusing on the Africa region is the first of a series of region-specific economic diplomacy meetings scheduled over the coming months.