KARACHI: Ambassador of Kingdom of Netherlands to Pakistan, Mrs. Ardi Stoios-Braken has identified agriculture and maritime sectors as great potential areas for collaboration between her country and Pakistan, says a Press release.
“As an embassy, we focus on two main sectors: agriculture and maritime. The potential for increased collaboration in the maritime sector led earlier this year to a visit by a Pakistani maritime delegation to the Port of Rotterdam and maritime companies associated with port development,” she said while speaking here at a ceremony to celebrate the Kingsday — the birthday of Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander, reception hosted by her and Honorary Consul General Tarek M. Khan, and Mrs. Adeela Tarek Khan, at a local hotel.
She was confident that Dutch companies would reciprocate and their representatives would visit Pakistan later this year. Hopefully, she added, the visit would move more Dutch companies to Pakistan and would generate more orders for these companies. The orders might be it in the field of tugging, dredging, shipbuilding, shipyard maintenance, liquefied natural gas terminals construction, port development and management, maritime training and education.
Dutch envoy was optimistic that Dutch knowledge and experience that made Rotterdam the Gateway to Europe would help make the ports of Karachi, Qasim and Gwadar the Gateways to The Pakistan hinterland and Central Asia.
She said the opportunities to enhance collaboration in agriculture also seemed vast. Dutch agricultural knowledge and expertise could assist Pakistan in a much broader sense. Netherlands, being the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, could help Pakistan boost agri productivity, improve water management and introduce innovations to meet the challenges associated with climate change.
Netherlands mission was also seriously working for sustainable trade and investment growth between the two countries. Karachi was an important pillar of Pakistan’s economy. Slowly but steadily, more Dutch companies wanted to do business with Pakistan, she said.
She said the embassy had been working for peace and security. Conflict and lack of political stability in this part of the world could also impact other parts of the world including Europe.
We therefore follow with keen interest relevant developments in Pakistan and in the region.
Netherlands’ Ambassador said the festivities to celebrate the Kingsday were not limited to The Netherlands. Every year, the celebrations were organised all over the world by the Dutch missions.
These celebrations served two functions:
1) to connect with members of the Dutch community;
2) to connect with what, she called, Netherlands functional network — representatives of Pakistani government, private sector, civil society, academia and knowledge institutions, and the media.
In social sector, she mentioned, with Dutch support Pakistani women have been empowered. For example, they have benefited from a micro credit from Kashf Foundation receiving 5 million loan from Dutch Development Bank FMO. Women’s capacity to negotiate for better labour
conditions has been built. In particular women’s inclusion in Pakistan’s economy is a cause we support – numerous studies suggest that the lack thereof may be the single biggest factor constraining socio-economic progress in Pakistan.
Mrs. Ardi Stoios-Braken said Women’s political participation was also an area of attention for the Dutch embassy.
She expressed her concern that millions of women had not been registered as voters and would not be able to cast their vote. Millions of other women had been registered but would face obstacles in casting their vote independently, she observed. Apart from women, Netherlands embassy had engaged itself with the youth of Pakistan.
“We believe this is relevant as Pakistan has a very young population compared with most other countries,” she remarked.
The Ambassador said it had struck her, how quality education, gainful employment opportunities and youth empowerment were high on the agenda of young people. These were three essential ingredients for a more tolerant and inclusive society.
The Dutch embassy was also pursuing public diplomacy; making sure that people in Pakistan develop a proper understanding of her country and the values and interests it represents.
She said Netherlands stood for international rule of law, supports human especially women’s rights, and strive for an inclusive and tolerant society for all.