President Ashraf Ghani has stressed the need for further strengthening trade and investment relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan for the benefit of the people of the two countries.
Addressing a business forum in Islamabad on Friday, the Afghan leader said the two countries had tremendous opportunities for bilateral trade and investment in various sectors.
He said Afghanistan would take benefit from trade opportunities in Pakistan as business interests of the two countries were inter-linked. He said the exploitation of these opportunities would not only help bring prosperity to the two countries but also to the entire region.
Expressing his resolve to enhance bilateral trade volume, Ghani said the mutual trade volume would be doubled from the existing US$ 2.5 billion to $5 billion by 2017. He said mutual economic connectivity was going to be the key to peace and stability in the region.
“We are living in an environment of suspicions and together we can remove our suspicions”, he said. “Let me assure you that we will bring a stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” he added.
He also invited the Pakistani business persons to work jointly with their Afghan colleagues. “You are source of prosperity in the region and we must focus on strengthening our regional trade. South Asia is the least economically integrated area in the world and Pakistan and Afghanistan can play role in boosting economic activities in the region,” he said.
“Let us focus our attention to turn Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline (TAPI) into a reality as soon as possible to make the region self sufficient in energy,” Ghani said, stressing the need to promote energy corridor.
He also announced to allocate $ 1 million for providing scholarships to Afghan students to study business classes at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).