Pakistan keen on boosting trade ties with Kenya
The National Day of Pakistan is a commemoration of the Pakistan Resolution adopted on 23rd March 1940. The resolution called for a separate homeland for the Muslims of undivided India where they could lead their lives according to their distinctive nationhood. In less than a decade, the independent state of Pakistan emerged on the map of the world on 14th August 1947.
During its short but eventful history Pakistan has surmounted many obstacles. Today, Pakistan is characterised by an upwardly mobile civil society, dynamic economy and strong democratic institutions. The country’s contribution to promotion of international peace and security is second to none, as its pivotal role against the global scourge on terrorism.
As the country prepares to celebrate their National Day in August, East African Business Times Magazine’s Bonface Otieno Kanyamwaya caught up with H.E Hon. Raza Bashir Tarar, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Kenya for an interview on the sidelines of celebrations to commemorate the Pakistan Resolution at the High Commission of Pakistan in Kenya. Excerpts;
Q: How important is Pakistan’s National Day?
A: The National Day of Pakistan on 23 March commemorates the historic day when the Muslims of the Sub-continent demanded a separate homeland in 1940 to practice their religion and live according to their way of life and distinct culture without let or hindrance. Under the exceptional leadership of the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-AzamMohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan emerged on the map of the world in a short span of seven years on 14th August 1947.
Q: What are some of the key milestone& achievements of Pakistan since it attained independence in 1947?
A: Pakistan boast vibrant democratic institutions; a growing economy; impregnable defence and a trailblazing contribution to regional connectivity embodied by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We are committed to optimizing the youth dividend of our young and dynamic population. Pakistan is also unwaveringly committed to peace and stability at the regional and international levels.
Q: How long do Kenya and Pakistan diplomatic relations date back?
A: Kenya and Pakistan have long enjoyed strong diplomatic ties which started in 1952. This has been reflected in high level visits from Pakistan to participate in the recently held international conferences in Kenya. The dignitaries from Pakistan expressed satisfaction over their interaction with their Kenyan counterparts during these occasions. Other high level exchanges are also in the pipeline which would give an impetus to our growing bilateral relations.
Q; What’s the total volume of trade between the two countries and what do Pakistan import from Kenya?
A: The total volume of trade between the two countries stands at US$ 600 million and we are the largest importer of Kenyan tea, whereas Kenya imports a huge quantity of Pakistani world renowned basmati rice.
Apart from tea, other high potential export commodities from Kenya to Pakistan include coconuts, dry nuts, fresh flowers and powdered milk. Pakistan on the other hand exports to Kenya surgical equipments, farm machinery, textile and sports goods at favourable terms.
On annual basis, the country produces about 6.7 million tons of fruits and citrus fruit is leading in terms of production followed by mango, dates and guava. Fruits and vegetable export trade in Pakistan amounts to US$662 million, of which fruits account for US$ 427 million (64 per cent), vegetables US$ 213 million (32 per cent) and fruits and vegetable preparations (mostly juices) US$ 21.6 million (3.2 per cent).
Q; What’s Pakistan’s GDP?
A: Our GDP stands at US$ 271 billion. It is mainly supported by the service sector (59.2 per cent), industrial sector (21 per cent) and agriculture (19.8 per cent).Per capita income is US$ 1561.
Q; What plans do you have in place to boost trade ties between the two countries?
A: We intend to step up linkages with chambers of Commerce and educational and research institutions. Already, plans are in place to set up partnerships in areas such as education.