The business community of Pakistan has widely welcomed the appointment of Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong, Gwadar Pro reported on Thursday. People in Pakistan believe that Mr Nong, with his strong credentials will play a pivotal role in facilitating the CPEC as it enters the second phase with a particular focus on agriculture, industrialization and socio-economic development. President of Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry SM Naveed, welcoming the appointment of the new ambassador, said, “We hope that the new Chinese Envoy would be focusing on the second phase of CPEC and will push forward the process of industrialization in Pakistan. His background in trade and economy gives him an added advantage to promote CPEC projects and reinforce Pakistan-China Economic ties.” Ambassador Nong Rong is also known as ‘Mr Double Port’ as he has been credited with building two ports inEast Asia. “We hope that he will play a critical role in the completion of Gwadar Port as well as the projects allied with it,” Adil Mahmood, President of Sheikhupura Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said. “The business community was keenly looking forward to welcoming the new ambassador to Pakistan and there was a hope that he will build stronger and durable bridges between the business communities of both countries.” The academic community of Pakistanis also quite hopeful that the new Chinese envoy will open a new chapter in the Pakistan-China ties. Lt Col (r) Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director of Center for Global Strategic Studies (CGSS), a think-tank based in Islamabad, while expressing best wishes for Ambassador Nong Rong to further deepen Pakistan-China All-weather strategic partnership maintained, “We hope Mr Nong will deepen Pakistan and China’s academic relations enabling both countries to become intimately aware of their common destiny and future.” Nong Rong’s experience in the trade, economics, and investment will help steer close coordination and consultations between Pakistan and China to complete CPEC, a landmark project of President Xi’s BRI. The new envoy has been closely associated with administering multi-cultural and multi-lingual administrative units. He served as the Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Party Committee. Nong Rong has also served as the deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress and member of the 11th Party Committee of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He is expected to reach Pakistan soon. Meanwhile, former president ICCI Shahid Rasheed Butt on Thursday lauded the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to boost trade and ties with African nations by opening new diplomatic missions in twenty countries. The business community fully back the government’s decision, as it will boost exports while these countries can start investing in Pakistan, he said. Shahid Rasheed Butt who is also honorary Consul General of Ghana said that the decision is well in time as the implementation stage of the African Continental Free Trade Area is due to begin in a few months. Many African nations are also interested in CPEC and opening embassies there will result in enhanced economic cooperation, he observed. He said that the government has planned to discover new markets to improve exports to Africa, the second largest continent in the world with 54 sovereign states, almost 1.5 billion of population and a collective GDP of $2.6 trillion. The business community has been demanding for linkages to Africa but the former governments relied on promises while the current government has moved in this direction which is laudable. The government should develop a plan to identify mutual partners from different countries as India and other countries continue to expand their presence in Africa since years, he informed. He said that all embassies should establish display centres for exportable products and the private sector should also play their role to get into these new markets.