LAHORE: Third LCCI Africa Show on Wednesday attracted a large number of people belonging to all walks of life including businessmen, government functionaries and politicians.
The show, having an exhibition and a conference in its fold, continued the day long to satiate the information needs of the businessmen intend to do business with African Union.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Provincial Minister Hameeda Waheeduddin while the conference was jointly opened by LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari and Dean of African Group in Islamabad, the Ambassador of Algeria, Dr Ahmed Benflis. Provincial Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah, Vice President Kashif Anwar and Chairman of the LCCI Committee on Africa Zafar Mehmood also spoke on the occasion.
The members of the African Union participated in the exhibition included: Sudan, Nigeria, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Somalia, Kenya and Libya.
The Provincial Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was doing a great service by holding such functions for the cause of the economy. He said that the interaction with foreign Ambassadors working in Pakistan is a prerequisite to increase business with the world. He said that the African region has a great potential besides having a number of untapped markets therefore Pakistani business community should join hands with their African counterparts in the larger interests of people living in Pakistan and Africa.
The Dean of African Group & Ambassador of Algeria Dr Ahmed Benflis in his remarks said that the African Union with its fifty-five member states has moved on the path of political, economical, social and cultural development of the African countries aiming to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the people of Africa to defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa.
To attain these objectives, the African people and the Heads of African Missions in Islamabad are playing their vital roles to further consolidate the multilateral relations in the fields of trade, commerce and industry with the brotherly country “Pakistan”.
“We all are working hard with the cooperation of all Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Pakistan with the purpose to improving cooperation and enhancing opportunities for more trade and investment among our countries.”
He expressed the optimism that the Africa Show would open up new avenues of progress, peace and prosperity for both the people of Africa and Pakistan in the field of trade and commerce in view to boost our economies.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that African region that is destined to become global growth centre for having enormous trade and tourism potential and Pakistan should not lose any opportunity to tap African market wherein the neighbouring India had already made a great penetration.
“It is not only the Gold, Diamonds and Oil reserves that are a great attraction but a number of other untapped sectors including Education and Tourism provide a solid reason to Pakistani businessmen to increase their interaction with their African counterparts.”
He said that Pakistani diplomats working in the outer world need to reset their priorities as foreign diplomats in Pakistan remain stick to trade and commerce and presence of large number of African Ambassadors and High Commissioners in today’s event arranged by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an ample proof of their commitment to their respective countries.
The LCCI President said that Pakistani business community was well aware of it that there are incalculable market opportunities available in Africa for Pakistani products and services.
He said that Africa is World’s second-largest and the most populous continent after Asia. There is a need to identify the sectors to capturing a sizeable share in African markets.
The LCCI President also stressed to explore all possible ways and means to bolster trade relations on preferential basis.
Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the efforts should be made to expedite exchange of business delegations, B2B meetings and MOUs for moving towards PTAs and FTAs etc.
He said that the support of government can play key role in this regard. Pakistan Foreign Office, major Chambers of Commerce and respective Commercial Sections of African Embassies must work together to prepare formal proposal for bringing major improvement in the trade figures.
At the end of the function shields were given to diplomats Dr Ahmed Benflis of Algeria, Murad Bourehla of Tunisia, L. Shafi Ahmed Mohammad of Sudan, Dr. Rashid Doureeawno of Mauritius, Dauda Danladi of Nigeria, Mpendula Kumalo of South Africa, Mustapha Salaahdin of Morocco, Ali Sheikh Abdullah of Somalia, Abbas Mezwghi of Libya, Idrees A. Hassan of Kenya, Saad Mohammad Al Saad of Egypt.
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