Kathmandu: The trade within the South Asian region has crossed USD 2 billion following the implementation of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), Secretary General of SAARC Ahmed Saleem has said.
Regional efforts on poverty alleviation, food security and social development continue to make progress, Saleem said, mentioning the progress South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has made in the past 27 years.
"Under the SAARC Development Fund, USD 55 million has already been provided for a number of development projects," he said,
The high official stated that the establishment of the South Asian University has produced the first batch of graduates last August and the SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme now covers 24 categories of persons who are entitled to visa free travel within the region.
"Let's together make a solemn wish that SAARC becomes increasingly people-centric by every passing day, he observed addressing a function organized at the SAARC Secretariat office in Kathmandu to mark the 28th SAARC Charter Day."
"All of us must be proud of the significant achievements SAARC has made over the years and the greater promise it holds for the overall prosperity of the countries it represents," he said.
SAARC was established in December 8, 1985 by seven South Asian countries with the objectives of promoting welfare of the peoples of South Asia, improve their quality of life and accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.
On the occasion Vice President Permananda Jha, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha and other dignitaries were invited.
First Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012, 19:43