Africa is going through a transition. Its potential, long talked about, is finally being realized. The rising political and economic power of Africa is already a reality. Its growing economic prowess is providing further evidence that this would be the African century and Africa will define its own destiny.
We commend African leadership for their foresight and vision demonstrated through the Africa-led, Africa-owned and Africa-driven NEPAD Initiative. It aims at providing an integrated and comprehensive framework for Africaís sustainable growth and development, sets out clear benchmarks and outlines a strategy for achieving them.
Africa today is still held back by conflicts. Despite this, the continent continues to works towards peace and security and finding home grown solutions
The African Union's Peace and Security Council is shouldering its responsibility in the maintenance of peace and security in the continent and its role has been recognized and appreciated. It has taken proactive decisions to respond quickly to stop conflict situations from escalating.
It is because of the long term and well thought out policy frameworks that, despite the weak global economic performance, outlook for African economies is promising and they are expected to grow by 5.3 percent this year. Similarly, higher growth in trade, substantial increase in Inter-Africa investments and private capital flows to Africa overtaking ODA, are all promising signs.
Private investment is the bedrock of all modern economies. Official assistance flows are insufficient to meet growing development needs and private investment could and should play a key role in realization of the potential of African economies. Progress in achieving the Post-2015 Development Agenda would require mobilization of substantial financial resources.
African nations continue to work towards streamlining their investment policies and making themselves attractive for private capital inflows. These efforts need to continue.
Agriculture remains the backbone of African economy. Investing in African agriculture would not only help alleviate poverty in Africa but help it become the grain basket for the world as well. This will be a win-win option.
Pakistan, for its part, has consistently backed the political and economic aspirations of Africa. It has actively supported efforts to address the problems faced by our African brethren. Pakistan is a proud contributor to United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in the continent. Our military and civilian personnel have been part of peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts in Africa. A pre-dominant majority of our peacekeepers continue to serve in peacekeeping missions in the continent.
In the context of South-South Cooperation, Pakistan has been providing assistance to African countries since 1986 under the Special Technical Assistance Programme for Africa. Hundreds of young African professionals have received training in Pakistan in diverse fields, including public administration, management, banking, diplomacy, and customs as well as the military field.
akistanís trade and investment in Africa is increasing. Our skilled manpower is helping African development. We would continue this mutually beneficial partnership and hope to play an important role in realizing the African dream.
We would continue our collaboration with Africa.
Challenges faced by Africa are colossal but the opportunities, the means and the resources to address those challenges are also immense. The African Union has emerged as a dynamic force promoting ownership in tackling African problems. It is important that conflicts and crises that sap African energy are brought under control and that international commitments to assist Africa are fulfilled. This would pave the way for Africa realizing its true potential.
I thank you.