Diplomatic overtures: Egyptian envoy wants to cement ties with Pakistan through art, trade

Currently total Pakistani investment in Egypt is around $500 million, and is expected to double in the next two years.


Maha Mussadaq January 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Egypt’s new ambassador wants to strengthen relationship with Pakistan through promotion of art and culture. He intends to promote his country’s art through his personal programme.


“This project is my own, and it is something very close to my heart,” said Ambassador Said Mohamed El-Said Hindam.

“In every country that I’m posted to, I try to launch a project as such where I not only give them a taste of Egypt, but also enhance their abilities and skills and make them known to their own countries.”

Ambassador Hindam, who arrived in Pakistan last September after the Egyptian revolution, said that he came across many people in Pakistan who are very supportive of his concept and are willing to help him out as well. He plans to promote young artists who are still in art schools along with other artists.

Hindam said that he will work on this project with the help of art professors who will guide him and educate him on the subject.

The envoy intends to arrange bimonthly art exhibitions. “These artists will not only be known to the Pakistani community, because I will try my best to make them known to the international community,” he said.

Pakistan has great potential and scope in the field of art which needs to be promoted. This country is really rich and the people need to know what the true colours of Pakistan are,” he said. “I feel that Pakistanis and Egyptians integrate really well, even better than with Arab countries,” he added.

The Egyptian envoy says during the last four months, he has learnt a lot about Pakistan. He described Pakistan as a resource-rich country with much potential and capacity, but also one needing streamlining.

He said that Egypt is interested in enhancing bilateral trade with Pakistan in various fields.

He said that 2011 was not a good year for trade and investment for Egypt, as the country had to face post-revolution challenges.

Hindam said that Pakistan needs to focus on its economy and trade this year. “The potential and infrastructure for trade is there, but the knowledge is lacking,” he said.

Hindam explained that Pakistani goods have earned a good name in Egypt, especially sports and surgical equipment, and Pakistan has the capacity to introduce new products to the Egyptian market. “We are planning to explore new avenues of trade cooperation, such as importing matchboxes from Pakistan,” he said.

The ambassador disagreed with the notion that people are not willing to invest in Pakistan. “I did not see investors shying away, there is a mounting demand for Pakistani goods, but at the same time, the competition is really tough in today’s markets,” he said.

However, according to Hindam, there are serious hiccups in progress due to energy crises. “Egyptian entrepreneurs are interested in investing in fertilizer sector, but such a big investment requires a big energy supply,” he said.

He said that for Egypt, the real task is rebuilding the economy on a strong foundation.

He cited Egypt’s environment and infrastructure as being conducive for free and preferential trade with all economic powers and regional groups of the world.

“I can assure you that Egypt is an attractive market for Pakistani investors,” he said, noting that currently the total Pakistani investment in Egypt stands at around $500 million, which is expected to double in the next two years. Egyptian FDI in Pakistan stands at around $4 billion.

“It is true that the year 2011 witnessed a slow investment streak due to the revolution, but once stability gets back on solid economic grounds the country is expected to make a fast takeoff.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2012.

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