Special Event at ISSI to celebrate “Africa Day 2024”

0
100
Special Event at ISSI to celebrate “Africa Day 2024”

ISLAMABAD, MAY 24 /DNA/ – The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) organized a special event to celebrate “Africa Day 2024.” The theme was “Pakistan’s Contribution to Peace, Security, and Prosperity in Africa.”

The Speakers included:  Director General ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood; Dean of African Corps/Ambassador of Morocco, Mohammad Karmoune; Additional Secretary (Africa), Mr. Shehryar Akbar Khan; Sector Commander West MINUSCA, Central African Republic (CAR), Brig. Fahad Ayub; President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Mr. Saqib Rafiq; Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Dr. Tughral Yamin;  Senior Vice President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Muhammad Hamza Sarosh, and Director CAMEA, Ms. Amina Khan.

The Heads of African Missions in Pakistan and Heads of Pakistan Missions in Africa also spoke on the occasion. Academics and members of the business community and students participated in the celebratory event. Stalls exhibiting African products and art work depicting African culture were also set up by African Missions in Islamabad.

During his welcome remarks, Director General Amb. Sohail Mahmood acknowledged contributions from partners including the Africa Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MO Directorate at GHQ, RCCI, African Missions in Islamabad, African students, and Pakistan’s Envoys in Africa. He highlighted Africa’s progress and the AfCFTA’s impact, reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for Africa’s development, and emphasized the role of Pakistani peacekeeping. Amb. Mahmood detailed Pakistan’s ‘Engage Africa’ policy, which helps strengthen and expand diplomatic and economic ties through new missions and joint initiatives. He stressed the strategic imperative of deepening Pakistan’s partnership with Africa and underscored the importance of a clear vision, consistent policy, and long-term strategy in this regard.   

Director CAMEA, Ms. Amina Khan highlighted the opening of new diplomatic missions in Rwanda, Djibouti, Ghana, Uganda, and Ivory Coast, and Ethiopia’s mission in Islamabad, signifying strengthened bilateral relations. Ms. Khan also commended Pakistan’s UN peacekeeping efforts and stressed the importance of cultural and educational exchanges for lasting partnerships and shared prosperity.

Ambassador Mohammed Karmoune discussed Morocco’s significant role in African peace and development, highlighting its contribution of personnel to UN peacekeeping and involvement in stabilizing regions like Somalia and the DRC. He also emphasized Morocco’s major investments in African infrastructure, banking, and telecommunications, including the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline, enhancing integration across 30 countries.

Mr. Shehryar Akbar Khan commended Africa’s advancements and Pakistan’s support, noting over 230,000 personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping over six decades, with 4,300 currently active. He highlighted the “Engage Africa” policy that fosters ties through training programs, reaffirming Pakistan’s dedication to Africa’s peace and development.

Brig. Fahad Ayub and Dr. Tughral Yamin praised the dedication and significant role of Pakistani peacekeepers in Africa. Brig. Ayub noted the deployment of 4,000 troops, efforts to increase female participation, and initiatives like agricultural support, highlighting their impartiality and trust earned. Dr. Yamin emphasized the peacekeepers’ professionalism and the challenging conditions they face, underlining the importance of continued support and recognition for their efforts.

Mr. Saqib Rafiq and Mr. Hamza Sarosh emphasized RCCI’s commitment to boosting Pakistan-Africa trade. Mr. Rafiq highlighted successful initiatives like the Pak-Africa Forum and a Cairo business event  that led to several MoUs, ongoing capacity-building efforts, and proposed a Trade Help Desk. Mr. Sarosh noted the nearly $4 billion in trade, potential for growth through the AfCFTA, and underscored Pakistan’s strengths in textiles and agriculture as crucial for entering African markets.

An interactive discussion followed, where representatives from the African Missions based in Pakistan shared their views. Representatives from the Pakistani Missions based in Africa also joined virtually and reiterated the importance of closer ties with Africa and offered their suggestions. At the end, the guests visited all the stalls established by African Missions in Islamabad, displaying African food and other products, which were introduced by the concerned Heads of Missions.

The event was attended by diplomats, practitioners, academics, students, and members of the business community, civil society, and the media.