Islamabad :Ambassador of Somalia Khadija Mohamed Almakhzoumi has said her country wanted to further strengthen relations with Pakistan in all fields.
She said, relations between Somalia and Pakistan are good, because we uphold the principle of mutual respect and trust and we have a reciprocal consideration. The ambassador of Somalia who has recently arrived in Pakistan expressed these views in an interview with this agency.
The ambassador said that the two countries have been developing a fruitful and close cooperation since 1st of July 1960. In 1969, Pakistan and Somalia were among the founding members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Somalia’s relations with Pakistan remained strong in the following years and through the ensuing civil war period, when the Pakistani military contributed to a UN peacekeeping operation in southern Somalia.
In 2010, Pakistan tabled a proposal for United Nations Security Council seats for OIC and Arab League states, the latter of which Somalia is also a member. The Federal Government of Somalia was later established on August 20, 2012, representing the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the conflict.
She said, the development was welcomed by the Pakistani authorities, who re-affirmed Pakistan’s continued support for Somalia’s government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty, as outlined in the Islamabad Declaration adopted by the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM). Giving a brief account of trade and economic relations the ambassador said, Pakistan and Somalia are active commercial partners, trading a variety of commodities.
In 2008-2009, Somalia exported $34,822.059 million USD worth of goods to Pakistan, with Pakistan in return exporting $17,781.883 million USD worth of goods to Somalia. Somalia’s main export commodities to Pakistan centred on the country’s livestock sector, and in 2009 included $3.190 million in raw hides and skins, $1.044 million in raw sheep and lamb skins, $0.137 million in sheep/lamb skin leather, $0.225 million in raw hides and skins of bovine/equine animals, and $0.033 million in leather of bovine/equine animals. Pakistan’s exports to Somalia during the same year included $53.254 million in rice, $0.627 million in medicament mixtures, $10.400 million in non-cocoa sugar confectionery, and $0.20 million in shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas and similar garments.
“Following a meeting between representatives of Somalia’s Trade Ministry and the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the two countries agreed to enhance their commercial relations, particularly in the agriculture, food products, livestock, fish farming, textiles, pharmaceutical products, leather products, hides and cement sectors. Most of the trade between Somalia and Pakistan had hitherto been conducted through Dubai, so the Somali authorities sought to establish direct trade links with Pakistan”.
“As Somali Ambassador to Pakistan, I consider my role is to facilitate the contacts between the players in the economic field, to get them to know each other better and also to interconnect in a better way”, she added.
To a question about educational links the ambassador said, a large number of Somali students are studying in Pakistan under Pakistan Technical Assistance programme and on Self- financing basis in various educational fields.
“We are thankful to the people and government of Pakistan for their continuing assistance to the Somali students and for your delight some students after graduating from Pakistan have established an urdu speaking colony in Mogadishu, Somalia. We are also now thinking to cooperate in Higher Education and research field”.
She said Pakistan and Somalia can cooperate in various fields like agriculture Animals and Fisheries, Energy, Real Estate, Health, Financial, Education, Tourism, Transport, ICT and Telecom.
To yet another question about trade the ambassador said, there has been no major incident that I have heard of where a foreign investor was harassed or their business overtaken by politicians or other Somalis. But of course to have a legal document in place should encourage investors to come here.
What we would suggest is for an investor to find a local partner and do a joint venture. It will not only help minimize risk, but it will also help you succeed business wise. I think Pakistan could capture large parts of Somalia’s markets were it to supply quality products at competitive prices, she added.
While sharing her impression about Pakistan the ambassador said, Pakistan is among the few countries in the world where every feature is worth appreciating. Whether this is a topographical, drainage, weather, architectural or traditional. Pakistan has most beautiful places to visit and its natural beauty is unmatched. I have travelled to many countries of the world but I have never seen people as gracious and friendly as those in Pakistan. — DNA