ISSI hosts event on launch of Pakistan Africa Institute for Development and Research

The Centre for Afghanistan Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held a Seminar for the Launch of Pakistan Africa Institute for Development and Research (PAIDAR). The thematic focus of the seminar was on ‘Reviving the Bandung Spirit of Afro-Asian Solidarity: Pakistan-Africa Relations’. President PAIDAR, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, delivered a keynote address.

The event was moderated by Ms. Amina Khan, Director CAMEA. The speakers at the seminar included Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director General ISSI; Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, President PAIDAR;H.E. Mohammed Karmoune, Dean of the African Envoys Corps and Ambassador of Morocco;H.E. Mary Nyambura Kamau, High Commissioner of Kenya to Pakistan;H.E. Jemal Beker Abdulla, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Pakistan;Ambassador Aftab Hassan, High Commissioner of Pakistan to South Africa;Ambassador Atif Sharif Mian, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and African Union; Ambassador Arshad Jan Pathan, High Commissioner of Pakistan to Mauratius; Mr. Zafar Bakhtawri, Secretary General United Business Group (UBG);Dr. Bashir Bahar, Assistant Professor Department of Translation and Interpretation, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI); Dr. Ismail Adaramola, Assistant Professor Department of Politics & International Relations, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI); Mr. Shehryar Akbar Khan, Additional Secretary Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA); Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman ISSI.

Ms. Amina Khan in her remarks said that Pakistan’s commitment to engaging with Africa is underscored by Pakistan’s comprehensive “Engage Africa” policy. Recognizing Africa’s potential as the ‘Continent of the Future’, and in line with the “Engage Africa” policy, CAMEA was established in 2020, to fortify relations with Africa, as well as to assist the government in chalking out a roadmap for future cooperation with the African continent. She said that CAMEA looked forward to working with PAIDAR to further Pakistan’s ties with Africa.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, in his welcome remarks, appreciated Senator Mushahid Husain Sayed’s dynamic and inspiring efforts throughout his professional life and his latest initiative of establishing PAIDAR, which aims to sharpen Pakistan’s focus on Africa through promotion of academic research and development partnerships. He said it was fitting that this launch ceremony recalled the “Bandung Spirit” – dating back to 1955 when 29 countries from Asia and Africa met in Bandung, Indonesia, from 18-24 April. He recalled the contribution of the Bandung Conference to the international community’s subsequent efforts for global peace as well as cooperation among the developing countries. He particularly highlighted Pakistan’s whole-hearted support for the liberation struggles of African nations and Pakistan’s contribution to Africa’s peace and security through consistent participation in UN Peacekeeping operations since 1960. He added that Pakistan’s overall engagement with Africa has been growing in recent years. In 2019, Pakistan expanded the scope of collaboration within the framework of its “Engage Africa” policy aimed at enlarging Pakistan’s diplomatic footprint in Africa and deepening economic partnership with the Continent. Ambassador Sohail concluded by saying that for Pakistan, deeper engagement with Africa remains a strategic imperative. Forging a strong and effective partnership for peace, progress and prosperity is an indispensable goal, which should be advanced through a clear vision, consistent policy, and a long-term strategy.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that the launch of PAIDAR coincides with the 69th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, emphasizing Africa’s pivotal role in the South with 54 African Union members. He underscored Pakistan’s longstanding ties with Africa, dating back to pre-independence when Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah initiated relations with Egypt in 1946. Senator Mushahid outlined PAIDAR’s objectives, aiming to reinvigorate Pakistan-Africa relations through people-to-people and business-to-business exchanges. He said PAIDAR seeks to prioritize mutual interests, promoting cooperation in education, environment, trade, energy, and sustainable development goals.

H.E. Mohammed Karmoune said that the relations between Pakistan and Africa are based on the principles of mutual respect, cooperation, and solidarity. Pakistan and Africa need to work together to launch joint ventures in different economic sectors. He said that development could be achieved mainly through science and technology, agriculture, industrial cooperation and the promotion of trade and investments.

H.E. Jemal Beker said that the ‘Look Africa’ and ‘Engage Africa’ policies of the Government of Pakistan are the steps in the right direction, which have led to the establishment of Ethiopia’s Mission in Islamabad as well as the commencement of Ethiopian airline direct flights to Pakistan. He also highlighted mutually beneficial opportunities for both sides in various sectors.

H.E. Mary Nyambura Kamau highlighted the historical cooperation between Africa and Pakistan, which she said is characterized by multifaceted collaboration at various levels, demonstrating the strength and resilience of the bond. To fortify cooperation between Pakistan and Africa, she stressed the importance of active exploration of various collaboration areas and engagement with Regional Economic Communities in Africa, such as ECCAS, ECOWAS, AMU, SADC, and EAC. Additionally, she urged Pakistan to focus on enhancing economic cooperation in trade, investment, joint ventures, tourism, and technology through regional blocks and bilateral levels.

Ambassador Aftab Hassan said that Pakistan enjoys historical and cordial relations with African countries under the ‘Bandung Spirit’ of solidarity. He said that there is a pressing need for developing robust high-level contacts between Pakistan and African nations as well as strengthening institutional mechanisms to sustain long-term cooperation. In this context he suggested practical measures to further deepen diplomatic, economic, and people-to-people engagement with Africa.

Ambassador Atif Sharif Mian stated that Ethiopia is one of most influential countries in Africa. Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with Ethiopia in recognition of her geo-economic potential and in line with Pakistan’s ‘Engage Africa’ policy. The Ethiopian leadership also espouses closer relations with Pakistan, which was evident by their decision to establish Ethiopian Mission in Islamabad in 2022.

Ambassador Arshad Jan Pathan said that the 21st century belongs to Afro-Asia continents. It is not the political will that is lacking; it is the will of the bureaucracy that is lacking to make the ‘Engage Africa’ policy a success. All stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce have to work together to make the policy a collective success. He also highlighted the challenges in the way of Pakistan’s increased collaboration with Africa-related regional platforms and proposed that PAIDAR should suggest solutions for addressing them.

Mr. Zafar Bakhtawri stressed the need for exploring business opportunities and increasing the presence of African missions in Pakistan and Pakistani Missions in Africa. He highlighted the necessity for comprehensive exploration across various sectors to foster stronger ties between Pakistan and Africa.

Dr. Bashir Bahar and Dr. Ismail Adaramola talked about the important role Pakistan has played in providing quality education to students from Africa in various Pakistani universities. They further highlighted that they both are products of Pakistani universities and now have the privilege of teaching in the Universities they graduated from.

Shehryar Akbar Khan said that under the ‘Engage Africa’ policy, Pakistan remains committed to promoting peace, prosperity, and shared progress between the people of Pakistan and Africa. Under the policy, Phase-I has been successfully executed. Pakistan’s further diplomatic missions in Africa will be established incrementally. He further highlighted that in the past seven months, MOFA has processed ten MoUs on establishing Bilateral Political Consultations with various African countries.

The event concluded with the unveiling of PAIDAR’s official logo and a group photo. A large number of academics, area studies specialists, heads of think-tanks, students and members of Parliament, civil society, and the media participated in the event.

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