13 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

‘My heart lives here’: Yemen envoy reveals his attachment with Pakistan

Muhammad Motahar Alashabi commends Lahore for its stature as a bustling metropolis and a thriving market

Ambassador of Yemen Muhammad Motahar Alashabi during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) commended the city of Lahore for its stature as a bustling metropolis and a thriving market.

Expressing his deep appreciation, he emphasized pressing need to bolster trade volume and value between Pakistan and Yemen while simultaneously enhancing their trading capacities. LCCI President Kashif Anwar presented the welcome address while Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt also spoke during the meeting.

Ambassador Muhammad Motahar Alashabi highlighted the impact of the conflict in Yemen over the years, and exuded hope in overcoming these challenges and restoring stability. Recognizing Pakistan as a significant market, he acknowledged the existing direct and indirect trade channels that Yemen maintains via Jeddah, Muscat, and Dubai.

He underlined the shared values between Pakistan and Yemen and revealed his personal affinity for the country, having resided in Pakistan for over a decade and ensuring his children received their education from Pakistan’s educational institutions. He passionately stated that his heart lies within Pakistan.

Moreover, the ambassador emphasized the pivotal role of the business community as the primary catalyst for economic growth, while the government serves as a facilitator. He underscored the dire need to strengthen the Yemeni-Pakistani relationship, emphasizing mutual interests and fostering closer business ties.

‘Pakistan has a skilled labor force in education, healthcare, engineering, information technology, and various other sectors’

LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Yemen being fellow member states of OIC enjoy cordial relations and both the countries have historical, cultural and political ties as well. He said that the religious bond has made this relationship much strong. According to the State Bank of Pakistan data, Pakistan’s total exports to Yemen were around 76 million dollars in 2021-22 that dipped to around 38 million dollars in first 10 months of current financial year 2022-23.

The imports from Yemen reduced from eight million dollars in 2021-22 to below one million dollar in first 10 months of current financial year 2022-23. This essentially means that the trade volume has reduced from 84 million dollars in 2021-22 to less than 40 million dollars in first 10 months of current financial year 2022-23. “You will agree with me that these trade figures do not reflect the actual potential at all,” the LCCI president said.

He said that considering the size of global trade of Yemen that is around 9.23 billion dollars (total exports 1.43 billion dollars and total imports 7.8 billion dollars), “we need to make some concentrated efforts to enhance the present level of bilateral trade.” He said that Pakistan mainly exports rice, tobacco, footwear, sugar and confectionery and cement etc to Yemen and imports from Yemen consist of waste of iron and steel.

Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan has huge potential of exporting various items to Yemen which are being imported from other countries. For example, Yemen’s imports of articles of apparel are $240 million, woven fabrics $203 million, meat $179 million, corn $168 million, footwear $157 million, furniture $104 million, sugar $146 million and pharmaceutical $173 million etc.

He said that Pakistan can certainly enhance its exports to Yemen in these sectors. He said that Yemen has untapped potential in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas exploration. Pakistan, being an energy-importing country, can explore opportunities for energy cooperation, including the import of oil and gas from Yemen.

He said that Pakistan has a skilled labor force in various sectors such as education, healthcare, engineering, and information technology. Yemen can benefit from Pakistani expertise and human resources, particularly in areas where Yemen faces a shortage of skilled professionals. He said Pakistan and Yemen need to improve their commercial and economic relations to promote bilateral trade and investment by taking advantage of the business opportunities in both countries.

He said that business communities of Pakistan and Yemen have to play a vital role for promotion of bilateral trade. “Mutual interaction at wider scale is needed to achieve the ultimate objectives. Your good office can do a lot in this connection.” In response, the LCCI president stressed the significance of exchanging delegations, particularly in the realm of tourism.

By showcasing the tremendous potential of the two countries, tourism can act as a driving force behind increased investments, he said. Additionally, the chamber president highlighted the LCCI’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Center (ADRC), which stands ready to assist Yemeni business individuals in resolving conflicts outside the court.