The High Commissioner of Pakistan to Tanzania and the EAC, Amb. Muhammad Saleem, paid a courtesy call on EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha.
The High Commissioner further presented a Letter of Felicitation from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister to the Secretary General.
Receiving the Pakistani High Commissioner, Dr. Mathuki said that the Community was keen on moving to the next level by strengthening trade and cooperation with other nations and regional economic communities.
Dr. Mathuki informed the Pakistani envoy that the expansion of the bloc was in progress with steps to process the Democratic Republic of Congo for admission now at an advanced stage.
The Secretary General said that the Community was seeking strategic partners for trade and investment as it expands the regional market.
“Pakistan has been proactive in providing solutions to the global market at lower prices in areas such as farm machinery, textiles and apparel, among other sectors. Pakistan, therefore, has lots of capacities that EAC can benefit from,” said Dr. Mathuki, adding that the integration process in East Africa was being led by the private sector which drives markets.
"We need more collaboration with Pakistan in terms of technology transfer to spur value chains in East Africa.”
Dr. Mathuki informed the High Commissioner that the EAC partner states were working on a more coordinated approach to combat Covid-19.
On his part, Amb. Saleem said that Pakistan was ready to support EAC’s industrialisation plans in diverse sectors but especially in areas where his country had built capacity using Western technology for several decades, namely: sugar processing, textile manufacture, cement and fertiliser manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals, among other sectors.
“We are ready to provide capacity building in the ICT sector, automotive, pharmaceuticals, biometrics, medical and engineering sciences, fertiliser production, sugar processing, and food processing. We usually build high-tech industrial plants at a much lower cost,” said Amb. Saleem, adding that Pakistan produces world-famous brands at a much cheaper cost.
He added that other areas in which Pakistan could work with East Africa were science and technology, higher education, innovation, health, trade and investment.
The Pakistani envoy called for the establishment of direct flights by Partner States’ airlines to Islamabad, adding that this was one way of increasing trade between Pakistan and East Africa.
He disclosed that one of the immediate openings for East African entrepreneurs in the huge Pakistani market of 220 million people was edible oil seeds whereby the country spends US$1 billion in importing oil seeds such as pulses, lentils and coconuts from markets that are much further away than East Africa.
Amb. Saleem urged the Secretary General to expedite a proposed visit to Pakistan by a delegation of businesspeople from East Africa, a trip that has been pending for a while due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response, Dr. Mathuki promised to facilitate the visit as soon as is feasible noting that it would be a game changer in as far as trade between Pakistan and EAC was concerned.