Islamabad: Pakistan has one of the finest quality coal and South Africa is ready to assist Pakistan in exploiting its coal reserves for power generation.
Being a rich country in mineral resources; South Africa has the expertise and modern technology to extract coal and it can help Pakistan in using its huge coal reserves for overcoming the ongoing energy crisis.
These remarks were made by Mr. Kumalo Mpendulo, High Commissioner of South Africa while addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He was accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner of South Africa.
He said South Africa and Pakistan share a history dating back many years when Pakistan was supporting the liberation struggle against the evil system of apartheid and thanked the Pakistani people for their support, which led to freedom for all South Africans in 1994.
Mr. Kumalo said Pakistan and South Africa have tremendous scope to improve trade and economic relations as the bilateral trade of US$ 510 million is quite insufficient.
He said South Africa is rich in mineral and other natural resources and wishes to encourage Pakistani investors to set up manufacturing plants in South Africa. We offer many attractive incentives to investors and more importantly South Africa is regarded as a gateway into Africa.
He said South Africa also offers excellent transport facilities including ports and international airports for the exports of goods. African continent is the second fastest growing region after Asia and Pakistani businessmen could achieve lucrative results by improving trade cooperation with South Africa.
He said economic diplomacy has become the buzz word in modern diplomacy and this is an area that he wishes to concentrate on during his term in Pakistan. He said Chambers of Commerce & Industry in Pakistan has a vital role for improving trade and invited ICCI delegation to visit South Africa to explore new avenues of mutual cooperation.
In his welcome remarks, Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that good friendly relations between South Africa and Pakistan should be translated into thriving trade and economic relations as bilateral trade is confined to few items and needs to be diversified to take it beyond US$ 1 billion by 2015.
He said Pakistan is also endowed with lot of natural resources and this is an area where both countries should strengthen cooperation for mutual benefit. He said close cooperation between the two countries would not only be beneficial for two nations, it would benefit the two regions as well.
He said Pakistani businessmen are very positive about South Africa and both governments should facilitate entrepreneurs in developing strong networking for exploring all untapped areas of potential cooperation.
He said Pakistan and South African should consider signing a free trade agreement and as a first step, both countries should sign a preferential trade agreement to improve trade. He said South Africa should consider establish direct air links with Pakistan to facilitate bilateral trade.
He said coal is an attractive area for cooperation and South Africa should share its expertise & technology with Pakistan for exploiting its coal reserves to produce cheap energy.
He said Pakistan also offers attractive investment opportunities, especially in energy & infrastructure development and South African investors should make more investment in Pakistan to earn good profits.
He assured that ICCI would work with South African High Commission to build bridges and develop strong linkages with their South African counterparts. He said that in 1990 when Nelson Mandela, he made big celebration in Pakistan when South African embassy was not establish in Pakistan