LAHORE-The head of Kenyan delegation Geoffrey Gichura Mutura has said that Kenya is gateway to most of African economies including Rawanda and South Saudan.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI acting President presented the address of welcome while other members of the delegation Rachael Waithira Mwangi and Sajjida Parveen Butt also spoke on the occasion. The head of the delegation said that we came to Karachi to visit an exhibition and have seen a lot of opportunities in Pakistan.
LCCI acting President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry hoped that participation of the delegation in 1st International Food & Agriculture Exhibition organized by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan in Karachi would have been great and successful. This expo would have given excellent rundown of the potential of Pakistan’s agriculture & food sector which is not limited to growing and selling fruits & vegetables rather we are doing really well in the fields like Halal Meat, rice, seafood, confectionery items, spices, processed food items, cooking oil/ghee, honey and tobacco etc. It is worth mentioning that Pakistan’s food exports are well above 5 billion dollars.
He commended the role played by L. D. Khan, Commercial Counsellor based in High Commission of Pakistan in Nairobi, who recommended the delegation to visit Pakistan to attend the said expo and also have direct interactions with the business community in Karachi, Lahore and Sialkot. We would certainly like to make your visit result-oriented so that you may succeed in achieving all the objectives you set before leaving from Kenya to Pakistan.
The head of the Kenyan delegation said that Kenya is the exporter of tea, coffee and avocado to the west. He said that we are also looking for a market for our products in Pakistan and also finding potential exporters of food mainly potato, onion and other food items as Kenya is facing a drought for the last months. He said that we are also interested in machinery and other related items. Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry said that Pakistan and Kenya maintain good diplomatic relations that were historically established in the 1960s, when Pakistan expressed its support for Kenya in getting independence from British rule. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and have common views on various international issues. The trade volume between Pakistan and Kenya is around 684 million dollars. Pakistan’s exports to Kenya are around 242 million dollars while the imports are around 442 million dollars. With joint efforts, there is a potential to take this trade volume to at least 2 billion dollars.
He said that we accord great importance to Kenya as an important economy in the African region. This is in line with the ‘Look Africa” Initiative launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Commerce Pakistan. Under this policy, African countries prioritized for trade promotion are Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Senegal, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania, and Ethiopia being top ten Economies of Africa. He said that under the ‘Look Africa Plan’ Pakistan is seeking to negotiate preferential trade agreements with three African trading blocs including Southern African Customs Union (SACU), East African Community (EAC) which also includes Kenya and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The LCCI acting president hoped that the said plan will go a long way in exploiting the export potential abundantly available in African markets for Pakistan. It is needless to mention that your support can play key role in realizing these objectives. He informed the Kenyan delegates that he has been extensively working on exploiting the untapped potential of trade with African countries since long. I myself have led many trade delegations to various African countries. “I am very obliged that African Diplomatic community and business community both treat me as their ambassador and partner. It is needless to mention that I always try my level best to come to their expectations”, he added. He said that agri-mechanization sector offers a lot of business opportunities to African businessmen. Agriculture remains a significant sector for both of our economies, and modernizing farming techniques through the adoption of advanced machinery can enhance our productivity and significantly reduce post-harvest losses.
He mentioned that Pakistan has the capacity to produce around 100,000 units of tractors every year out of which around 60% are required domestically while the country has potential to export 40% of its produced tractors. The consumption of tractors in 2021-22 stood at around 59,000 units. The tractor industry in Pakistan can certainly fulfill the demand of Kenyan market and also increase its production capacity accordingly. He said that Pakistan and Kenya must cooperate with each other in this sector. I believe that joint investment in agri-mechanization will not only benefit our farmers but also contribute to food security and sustainable agricultural practices of Kenya He said that besides agriculture, there is also tremendous potential for Joint Ventures (JVs) in the construction sector as the Government has focused heavily on development of housing sector and has also undertaken massive infrastructure projects i.e. construction of dams, highways, power plants, special economic zones etc. Many of these projects are being implemented under the ambit of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).