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Pakistan, France sign MoU to promote bilateral trade on July 18, 2019.

Business France and Board of Investment (BOI) of Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and business between Pakistan and France.

The agreement was signed by the Ambassador of Pakistan to France Moinul Haque on behalf of Board of Investment (BOI) of Pakistan and Christophe Lecourtier, Chief Executive Officer of Business France in a special signing ceremony held at the headquarter of Business France in Paris, today.

Visit of a delegation of the French Senate – from 24th to 27th April 2019

Pascal Allizard, Senator of Calvados, President of the France-Pakistan Friendship Group and Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces, accompanied by his colleagues from the friendship group, Mrs. Gisèle Jourda, Senator of Aude, also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Mrs. Chantal Deseyne, Senator of Eure-et-Loire, paid a visit to Pakistan from April 24th to 27th, 2019. The delegation travelled successively to Islamabad, Karachi and Gwadar.

Pakistan Elected as President of UNESCO’s Education Commission

Paris 14th November 2019. Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training was unanimously elected as President of UNESCO’s prestigious Education Commission at UNESCO Headquarter, in Paris, today.

While commenting upon his election, the Federal Minister termed it as an honor for Pakistan and an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s commitment to UNESCO’s work in the field of education.

The Minister said that being the President of UNESCO’s Education Commission, he would work closely with all delegations in a constructive manner in pursuance of UNESCO’s objectives to build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture and to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030.

PM, French delegation discuss investment opportunities in Pakistan, April 08, 2019

A delegation of French businessmen called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Monday and discussed investment and business opportunities in Pakistan.

The delegation evinced keen interest in investing in various sectors including manufacturing sector, agriculture, and energy.

The Prime Minister welcomed the interest of delegation and highlighted Pakistan's investment potential and business friendly policies.

He highlighted the potential of agriculture, tourism, industry, and Special Economic Zones.

Imran Khan emphasized on the steps taken to reduce cost of doing businesses and improving ease of doing business in the country.

MEDEF is the largest association of French entrepreneurs having 750,000 members.

The delegation of French businessmen also called on the President Dr Arif Alvi in Islamabad on Monday.

Talking on this occasion, the President said Pakistan is keen to enhance its bilateral ties and cooperation with France in realms of trade and investment for mutual benefit of both the countries.

The President underscored that Pakistan offers various investment opportunities for French investors especially in the sectors like manufacturing, housing, tourism, communications, and road infrastructure.

He said Pakistan follows a consistent investment policy having several lucrative incentives like full repatriation of capital, capital gains, high rate of return, dividends and profits.

He said foreign companies are allowed to use borrowing facilities both from local and foreign banks.

Dr Arif Alvi said CPEC- with its wide portfolio of projects in the domains of energy, roads and railway networks, software development and many others offer invaluable opportunities for French companies.

He invited the French companies to come forward and have joint ventures with local and foreign companies to become part of global value chain.
France committed to boost ties with Pakistan, says envoy

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of France in Pakistan Marc Barety has said France is keen to develop strong business contacts with Pakistan, and also focusing on the promotion of the small and medium enterprises in the country.

He expressed these views while giving a message on the occasion of the start of 2019, New Year celebrations.

The ambassador said the year 2018 marked enhanced cooperation between France and Pakistan and the bilateral resolve to explore new opportunities to further our relationship.

As we round up the year 2018 we remember the visit of French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs Secretary General Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, to Pakistan in July in connection with the 13th round of bilateral political consultations.

A delegation of six major companies of France visited Karachi in September to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan.

French and German embassies in Islamabad jointly organised the musical tour of “Stradivaira” in different cities of Pakistan.

French Senator and France-Pakistan Friendship Group in Senate President Allizard Pascal participated in the Standing Committee meeting of Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Gwadar in October.

The French Embassy in Pakistan stands committed to further boosting our bilateral relationship in 2019.

Eiffel scholarship offers Pakistani students higher education in France

An important delegation of renowned French universities will visit Pakistan in April 2019 as part of our resolve to increase our contributions towards higher education in Pakistan.

Our economic agenda for Pakistan includes the visit of bilateral trade commission of ministerial-level and the visit of French companies led by French Business Council and the largest French Chamber of Commerce in Middle East based in Dubai.

The French Alliances in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi will continue to play an important role in furthering our cultural cooperation in the country, he added.

"In 2020, the volume of the bilateral trade amounted to 1.3 billion Euro,

with Pakistan exports to France reaching 930 million Euros and

French exports to Pakistan nearly 319 million Euros"

Since his arrival in Paris on Monday, the Minister had a hectic schedule representing Pakistan at the Paris Peace Forum and as well as UNESCO General Conference. He was hosted by the Chinese Minister for Education for an exclusive lunch. He separately held bilateral meetings with Ministers of Education of Bangladesh, Norway and Tunisia and also met Assistant Director Generals of UNESCO for Education and Culture. During the meetings, the Minister stressed the need for greater cooperation at bilateral and international level to ensure access to education to all school going children and to bring about quantum improvement in the higher education sector.

With Pakistan in the chair, the Education Commission would take up a heavy agenda   deliberating on UNESCO’s future strategy and programmes for literacy, global/regional coordination for the implementation of SDG 4 –Education 2030, ways and means to move towards a global classification framework for teacher policy dialogue besides finalizing the draft text of the Global convention on the recognition of higher education qualifications.
Business France is a French government agency created in 2015 with the merger of French Agency for International Investment and UBIFRANCE. It is responsible for facilitating French small and medium-sized companies for their overseas investments and to promote France as an Investment destination.
Christophe Lecourtier, Chief Executive Officer of Business France while speaking on the occasion said that after signing of this landmark agreement, Business France will encourage and motivate French companies to invest in Pakistan and forge business alliances with their Pakistani counterparts.
The signing of MoU was witnessed by the French government officials, officers of the Business France and Embassy of Pakistan, members of French civil society and media.

While speaking on the occasion, the Ambassador congratulated Business France and BOI terming the signature of this important agreement as a testimony of growing business relations between Pakistan and France. He noted that the new agreement would encourage and facilitate businessmen and investors from both countries to forge closer contacts and partnerships. The signing parties would also be able to help and support the businessmen from the two countries for organizing exhibitions, seminars and business missions.
The delegation of the French Senate particularly appreciated the warm welcome they received in Pakistan and the quality of the exchanges with all of its Pakistani interlocutors, who expressed their interest in deepening exchanges with France.
The delegation then travelled to Gwadar, the maritime outlet of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the latter being the purpose of the first visit of Senator Allizard and Senator Jourda in 2017 as part of a study on "New silk roads". This trip allowed the delegation to visit the port of Gwadar, now operational. The delegation could appraise the status of development of the different components of the Gwadar expansion project around its port, through a joint comprehensive presentation by the Gwadar Port Authority and the Gwadar Development Authority. Showing interest in Gwadar’s social development, the delegation was invited to visit the district hospital. For the senatorial delegation, the visit to Gwadar confirmed the strategic assets of the area, its potential for progressive development and the relevance of raising awareness among French companies.
On the occasion of its visit in Karachi, the delegation met with the chairman and the director of the Akhtar Group consortium, with much diversified activities (energy, wind power, confectionery, textile, pharmaceutical and dairy products...) and met the French community as well as the business community at a reception at the Consulate General.
The French delegation also visited the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (technical and legal support center for all parliamentarians, both federal and provincial), which has shown its interest for co-operation with its French counterpart, as well as the Board of Investors, which presented it the policy of attractiveness of investment in Pakistan. An exchange with the press and a meeting with politicians and the Pakistani business community, during a reception at the residence of France, completed the program of their stay in the capital.
During their stay in Islamabad, the senators met high level Pakistani authorities : Chairman Senate, Mr. Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Asad Qaiser, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sohail Mahmood, the President of the Pakistan-France Friendship Group, Senator Faisal Javed together with its members, the Chairman of the Defense Production Committee, Senator Abdul Qayyum. These talks were an opportunity for both the Pakistani authorities and the French delegation to highlight the dynamism of France-Pakistan inter-parliamentary relations and to call for bilateral exchanges to develop.

France wants more trade, investment; South Korea eyes joint ventures

Pakistan and France agreed to hold high-level meetings with businessmen and companies for exploring trade and investment opportunities while South Korean companies are interested in joint ventures with local counterparts besides investments in diverse fields.

French Ambassador to Pakistan Marc Baréty and Premier Counselor Yves Manville called on Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi in Islamabad and expressed confidence in Pakistan’s future. They said that France stands with Pakistan in benefiting from huge potential here.

The delegation apprised the minister about the French companies already operating in hydrocarbons and the transport sector. They said that Pakistan has a trade surplus with France whereby textiles, leather products, fruits, and pharmaceuticals are its major exports.

The delegation also appreciated reform initiatives of the government which has helped Pakistan to improve in world business rankings and indices. The federal minister gave a detailed overview of the projects the ministry is working on for the development of ports especially Karachi.
He appreciated the role of France in establishing zero-emission red line bus service, a part of the Karachi BRT project whereby animal waste is to be used to generate biogas for buses, industrial-grade water and CO2 and fertilizer for agriculture.

The project will be fully operational in 2020. France has labeled Islamabad and Lahore in its tourism category, while Gilgit and Karachi are next in the line, the participants of the meeting agreed on the exchange of experience regarding this sector since France receives 90 million tourists every year.
France and Pakistan sign €0.5 million grant agreement for capacity building of Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB)

Islamabad: 11 February 2020: In order to diversify the energy-mix of country, the Government of Pakistan (GoP) is encouraging development of hydro potential to produce clean, green and affordable electricity. These efforts further supplemented by signing two Agreements today between the Government of Pakistan, the Agence Française De Développement (AFD), France and the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB). The Financing Agreement was signed between Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and AFD while the Project Agreement signed between Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and AFD. From EAD side Dr. Syed Pervaiz Abbas, Secretary while from PPIB Mr. Shah Jahan Mirza Managing Director signed the documents respectively while from AFD, Mr. Philippe Steinmetz, Director AFD Pakistan signed both Financing and Project Agreements. The signings were witnessed by high officials of EAD, PPIB and AFD. The Honorable Ambassador of France to Pakistan His Excellency Mr. Marc Baréty witnessed the ceremony and co-signed the Financing Agreement..

Under the agreement, AFD will provide grant of 500,000€ to PPIB for improvement of expertise and for implementation of hydropower projects more efficiently. The agreed areas of support for technical assistance include preparation of mechanism for tariff based bidding for hydropower projects, hiring of consultant to assist Panel of Experts (POE) on review of Feasibility Study for hydropower projects and capacity building of PPIB employees.
It operates in a number of sectors (energy, health, biodiversity, water, urban planning, training) and offers a wide range of financial and non-financial services. Through its network of 85 agencies, AFD operates in 108 countries, where it is currently financing, monitoring and supporting over 2,500 development projects.
PPIB is a frontline institution of the GoP providing one window facilitation for promoting indigenous coal, and renewable hydro potential for power generation. Currently a diversified portfolio of seventeen (17) hydro IPPs of 6,550 MW and seven (7) Thar coal based IPPs of 4,950 MW is under process by PPIB, of which majority of projects are at advance stages of LOS and above. PPIB has successfully materialized first ever hydro and Thar coal based IPPs in the country while first ever private sector transmission line will also be getting ready by March 2021.
Mr. Shah Jahan Mirza appreciated AFD for taking keen interest in the hydropower sector of Pakistan and said that such efforts will produce fruitful results for the sake of attaining reliability and sustainability in the power sector. He invited AFD to work together for developing Pakistan’s Power Sector on robust and solid footings.
The French government is providing a soft loan of Rs12.3 billion (65 million euros) for the bus rapid transit (BRT) Red Line project in Karachi.

This was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Fakhar Imam in a webinar on the agriculture sector of Pakistan in which 25 French companies participated. The webinar was organized by the largest business federation of France, MEDEF in cooperation with the Embassy of Pakistan, Paris.
He said agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy as it not only provides food security to the people but also employment opportunities to a large percentage of population. In addition to modernizing agriculture we also want to develop related sectors like fisheries, livestock, processing of fruits, meat production and dairy as well as organic farming, he added.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Thierry Pfilmlin President Total Global Services, who is also President Pakistan-France Business Council, introduced MEDEF, as the largest employer federation in France which was established in 1998. It has more than 750,000 member firms, 90% of them being small and medium enterprises with fewer than 50 employees. Every year, MEDEF International organises a number of delegations of French business leaders with tangible projects to targeted countries, especially developing countries.
Mr. Muhammad Amjad Aziz Qazi, Charge d’Affaires a.i. Embassy of Pakistan Paris, praised the long-standing cooperation with MEDEF, adding there is huge potential in the agriculture sector to enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries. Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy and an important sector in French economy, he said, and Pakistan can benefit from French best practices in this sector.
Representative of French Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Mr. Sylvian Maestracci said that France is the world’s seventh largest agricultural producer, fourth largest agricultural exporter and EU’s leading agricultural power, accounting for about one-third of all agricultural land within the EU. More than half of French farms are primarily devoted to animal production, which account for 43% of France’s total agricultural produce equaling 25.7 billion Euros.
The participating French companies expressed keen interest in Pakistan‘s agricultural sector and sought information on various sub-sectors including dairy, animal husbandry, seed production, organic farming and forestation in which they could cooperate with Pakistan.
Renowned French shipping and logistics companies, auto companies like Renault and Peugeot and wholesale companies show interest in 200 million people market of Pakistan since the business environment has become more and more conducive during this tenure of the government.
Pakistan welcomes French investment, technology in agriculture sector: Fakhar Imam

PARIS, OCT 9 –  Pakistan has huge potential in the field of agriculture and agri-products and the country welcomed French investment, technology and expertise, in a mutually beneficial way.

To facilitate the credit, Ambassador of France in Pakistan Marc Barety and country director of the French Agency for Development (AFD) signed the credit financing agreement with Secretary for Economic Affairs Division Noor Ahmed in Islamabad to co-finance with the Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Green Climate Fund.

The Red Line is proposed to connect with the Green Line, currently under construction, at the Numaish station for a seamless and connected operation. The Red Line services will then continue on the shared common corridor from the Numaish station till Merewether Tower.

The soft loan of Rs12.3bn for the project shows that the substantial financial effort made by the development agencies is aimed for a higher impact on people's livelihoods. It will be one of the very first collaborative operations for AIIB and GCF in Pakistan on urban development, a French embassy press release states.

The project includes the construction of 26.6km BRT corridor in Karachi encompassing both the Red Line corridor (24.2km) and the common corridor segment (2.4km) as well as feeder and direct services routes to the nearby communities.

Beyond the 26.6km corridor infrastructure, the project is innovative in many ways, and on climate change mitigation the choice is made for the bio-methane hybrid bus technology, powered by a dedicated waste methanisation plant. This technology combined with the massive transport supply will further reduce CO2 emissions from the public transport system.

The holistic street approach for this urban development project is to include organisation and facilities for all the public space along the BRT corridor, whereas its gender and social inclusion dimensions are through the adoption of good practices in accessibility and gender mainstreaming.

In addition, the project includes a support component for the transition of the existing bus sector with the integration of informal operators into the new system, which is a prerequisite for their proper and full commissioning.

The project-related infrastructure includes 24 BRT stations and dedicated lanes in the median, improved mixed traffic lanes, bicycle lanes, parking, sidewalks, green areas, streetlights and proper drainage to climate-proof the corridor and other BRT-related infrastructure, including two depots, one staging facility, offices for Sindh TMTA and TransKarachi, a control centre and park-and-ride facilities.