Build­ing busi­ness col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Su­dan and Pak­istan - Os­man Elmahdi Os­man

Os­man Elmahdi Os­man, Man­ager, Fairs and Con­fer­ence Direc­torate, Su­danese Free Zones and Mar­kets Co. Ltd., speaks to En­ter­prise in this exclusive in­ter­view

Enterprise - - Front page -

How can Su­danese Free Zone and Mar­kets Co. Ltd. play a role in pro­mot­ing the economies of Su­dan and Pak­istan?

Su­danese Free Zone and Mar­kets Co. Ltd. is the only pub­lic share­hold­ing com­pany in Su­dan. A part of it is owned by the govern­ment and a part by the pri­vate sec­tor. It is the only com­pany in Su­dan that owns free zones which are very im­por­tant eco­nomic or­gans for up­scal­ing the econ­omy and pro­mote exports and imports in Su­dan and into mar­kets of Africa be­yond Su­dan. We have a free zone in Port Su­dan which is around 2200 kilo­me­tres away from Khar­toum and we have an­other free zone in the sub­urbs of Khar­toum, some 75 kilo­me­tres to the north of the city. We ex­pect that if the Pak­istani mar­kets are linked to the free zones in Su­dan, it could serve as a strong tool in pro­mot­ing trade be­tween both coun­tries.

How do you see the po­ten­tial for Pak­istani goods in Su­dan?

Well, that can come in many forms. Pak­istan is a pro­duc­ing coun­try and Su­dan is a big mar­ket open to Pak­istani prod­ucts and in­vest­ments and both be­ing Mus­lim coun­tries is an­other ad­van­tage. So we think that by close co­or­di­na­tion and close con­tact and plan­ning, we can cre­ate a pos­i­tive op­por­tu­nity for build­ing eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Su­dan.

Which Pak­istani goods would be in most de­mand in your coun­try?

Pak­istan is pre­dom­i­nantly fa­mous for its tex­tile in­dus­try and Su­dan is in need of that. Food items, sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments, ap­parel, con­struc­tion ma­te­rial, mar­ble, tiles and ce­ram­ics, among oth­ers, have a very pos­i­tive mar­ket in Su­dan. I think there are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for the two coun­tries to de­velop eco­nomic re­la­tions.

Which Su­danese goods have a po­ten­tial mar­ket in Pak­istan?

Su­dan is an agri­cul­tural coun­try. We have vast pro­duc­tion of an­i­mals and agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, which I see Pak­istan is also in need of. We are the third pro­duc­ers of gum ara­bic in the world; we pro­duce sesame, sorghum and a wide range of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Do you see any scope for Pak­istan’s ser­vices sec­tor in Su­dan?

Mainly health, ed­u­ca­tion and tourism sec­tors have a good chance for Pak­istan to get a con­sid­er­able mar­ket share. Now we have Le­banese, In­dian, Chi­nese and Euro­peans who are ex­ten­sively in­volved in the ser­vices sec­tor. Pak­istan is per­form­ing quite well in this sec­tor and can eas­ily cap­ture a good share in Su­dan’s big mar­ket.

Could the trade bod­ies of both coun­tries play a role in fos­ter­ing stronger trade ties with each other?

That is the rea­son I am here. We have good trade bod­ies in Su­dan and Pak­istan. But, I think they lack the link; they lack co­or­di­na­tion. We have the Em­ploy­ers Union which is like the Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try in Pak­istan. We have a big body, very in­flu­en­tial, and hav­ing close links with the govern­ment. Here in Pak­istan there are many Cham­bers of Com­merce and their mem­bers are in­volved in var­i­ous sec­tors of pro­duc­tion. So, I think co­or­di­na­tion will bring them to­gether. It is a mat­ter of aware­ness; peo­ple are not aware of Pak­istani prod­ucts and the same is the case with Su­dan. Proper co­or­di­na­tion would fill this gap. More­over, one of the im­por­tant mes­sages from the Pres­i­dent of the Karachi Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try which I am tak­ing back to Su­dan is

to in­tro­duce Pak­istani trade bod­ies to Su­dan.

What are the in­cen­tives that SFZ of­fers to fa­cil­i­tate in­vestors?

It has two chan­nels. Firstly, the free zones are a ma­jor fa­cil­ity that can help Pak­istani in­vestors pen­e­trate into the Su­danese mar­kets, be­cause free zones are not sub­ject to cus­toms rules in Su­dan. Through free zones, Pak­istani goods can be man­u­fac­tured and stored in Su­dan and moved to other mar­kets be­yond Su­dan. We also have a ma­jor eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in Su­dan in the form of a strong Ex­hi­bi­tion in­dus­try. SFZ is the only com­pany in Su­dan which pos­sesses the ma­jor venue for exhibitions; this was built in the 1970s. We are a mem­ber of the Global Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Trade Fairs (UFI). We nor­mally at­tract ex­hibitors and in­vestors to in­tro­duce them to Su­danese mar­kets through the In­ter­na­tional Khar­toum Trade Fair and also through or­ga­niz­ing a num­ber of spe­cial­ized exhibitions. These exhibitions serve as a national plat­form, where the in­vestors can get in touch with the govern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor and es­tab­lish their ac­quain­tance with the Su­danese mar­ket.

What role has the In­ter­na­tional Khar­toum Trade Fair played in pro­mot­ing Su­dan’s econ­omy?

The Khar­toum In­ter­na­tional Fair is an old ac­tiv­ity. It started in 1978 and now at­tracts ex­hibitors from all parts of the world. We nor­mally have ex­hibitors from Asia, North Amer­ica, Europe and other parts of the world, all un­der one roof. We or­ga­nize the fair an­nu­ally and are keen to have par­tic­i­pa­tion from all coun­tries. Pak­istan is a reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pant which is the rea­son I am here to strengthen greater pen­e­tra­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties for Pak­istan in the Su­danese mar­ket.

We are in­volved in ma­jor de­vel­op­ment

projects in Su­dan, to reach all the 15 states of this big coun­try. In par­tic­u­lar, Pak­istan can go be­yond Khar­toum to these states which have their own leg­is­la­tions and own fi­nanc­ing sys­tems. Through fairs and exhibitions, in­vest­ments can be chan­nel­ized to the right mar­kets. I am here to get the best Pak­istani com­pa­nies in the front line that can do busi­ness with Su­dan. We are seek­ing com­pa­nies to be in­volved in long-term projects and com­mer­cial ex­change of large vol­umes be­tween the two coun­tries. That is the im­por­tance of the In­ter­na­tional Trade Fair of Khar­toum in this con­text.

Which mu­tual ar­eas of trade can be strength­ened to build col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Su­dan and Pak­istan?

We go into both lines - consumer goods and in­fras­truc­tural or de­vel­op­ment projects. For consumer goods the Su­danese mar­ket is open to Pak­istani prod­ucts in tex­tiles, in ready­made dresses, in food items, etc. All prod­ucts ex­ported from Pak­istan can have a chance in the Su­danese mar­ket. Also, I am seek­ing Pak­istani com­pa­nies to get in­volved in de­vel­op­ment projects. We have a very en­cour­ag­ing de­vel­op­ment Act in Su­dan for the in­vestors to do busi­ness there. In Pak­istan there are good com­pa­nies which can be in­volved in the sec­tors of elec­tric­ity, road and bridge con­struc­tion, water and in in­dus­try and tech­nol­ogy in gen­eral. These are long-term projects which can con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

How has your visit to Pak­istan as­sisted you in de­vis­ing fu­ture trade and in­vest­ment strate­gies?

This is my first visit to Pak­istan. I came with a sim­ple idea to pro­mote the In­ter­na­tional Trade Fair of Khar­toum in gen­eral and to pro­mote the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Su­danese Free Zone and Mar­kets Co. Ltd., but af­ter my meet­ings with the Cham­bers of Com­merce in Pak­istan, Global Exhibitions and Mar­ket­ing (GEM) and also with Eco­nomic ad­vi­sors at the Su­dan Em­bassy in Is­lam­abad, I have re­al­ized that there is a huge po­ten­tial to co­op­er­ate with all these con­cerned bod­ies. It came to my mind that, to do this, we need a form of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Pak­istan to sup­port our ac­tiv­i­ties in Su­dan. Pak­istan can con­trib­ute a lot to my exhibitions and it can also avail the op­por­tu­ni­ties in the free zones of Su­dan. We have dis­cussed op­por­tu­ni­ties with Global Exhibitions and Mar­ket­ing (GEM) to rep­re­sent the In­ter­na­tional Trade Fair of Khar­toum in Pak­istan. I have also dis­cussed op­tions with our Em­bassy and have re­ceived ini­tial sup­port.

Now we are in the process of in­stalling an agent in Pak­istan to sup­port our ef­forts and to pro­mote re­la­tion­ships in the ex­hi­bi­tion sec­tor be­tween our com­pany and the trade in Pak­istan. I will also seek sup­port of the Busi­ness Fed­er­a­tion of Su­dan called the Em­ploy­ers’ Union and mo­ti­vate them to strengthen links with Pak­istan.

So, I think my visit has come up with dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits. It gave me a new vi­sion to de­velop a re­la­tion­ship at least in the ex­hi­bi­tion sec­tor be­tween Su­dan and Pak­istan. For our part we are go­ing to ex­tend it to the last. In the pri­vate sec­tor we will be able to un­der­take a num­ber of pos­i­tive plans. And this may gen­er­ate in­ter­est of the of­fi­cial govern­ment con­cerns which will give sim­i­lar re­sults. This has been af­firmed to me by the Am­bas­sador that he will ex­tend his full sup­port at the pri­vate sec­tor level

Aus­tralia A$ 6 Bangladesh Taka 65 Bhutan NU 45 Burma KK a10 Canada C$ 6 China RMB 30 France Fr 30 Hong Kong HK$ 30 In­dia Rs. 65 Ja­pan ¥ 500 Korea Won 3000 Malaysia RM 6 Mal­dives Rf 45 Nepal Ncrs. 75 New Zealand NZ$ 7 Pak­istan Rs. 100 Philip­pines P 75 Saudi Ara­bia SR 15 Sin­ga­pore S$ 8 Sri Lanka Rs. 100 Thai­land B 100

UAE AED 10 UK £3 USA $ 4.99

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.