Ministry of Commerce this year organized Pakistan Africa Trade Development Conference to improve trade ties
Pakistan’s trade with African countries touched US$4.18 billion in 2019-20, which signifies an increase by seven percent as compared to the previous year (US$1.38 billion), said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood.
Pakistan’s new engagement with African countries via “Look Africa Campaign” initiated by the government of Pakistan helped improve ties, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The total trade with Africa has increased from US$3.19 billion in 2016-17 to US$4.18 billion in 2019-20, he said.
Pakistan’s trade with Africa that remained stagnant at US$3 billion per year for the last few years due to a “low level of engagement with African countries” is now improving thanks to the government’s ambitious trade policies, he shared.
Pharmaceutical and surgical goods
Traditionally, Pakistan’s key export to Kenya and other African countries has been rice. Bt now “we are planning to enhance exports of Pharmaceuticals, Surgical goods and light engineering and electronic products including tractors and agricultural implements, two and three-wheelers, commercial and domestic fans, water pumps and electrical machinery and equipment”.
Dawood said there is huge untapped business potential for Pakistan in Africa waiting to be realized.
Under the “Look Africa Policy” of Ministry of Commerce, “different initiatives including six new commercial sections have been opened in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Sudan and Tanzania, in addition to four existing Commercial Sections in Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa, to cover top ten economies of Africa”.
Look Africa trade forums
The ‘Look Africa Trade Forums’ have been organized in all major cities of Pakistan to create awareness among the business community of Pakistan about the potential of African markets. The establishment of bilateral linkages with major African countries was underway.
Razak Dawood said Joint Working Group with Egypt and Joint Trade Committee with Kenya have been established while Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) has been shared with multiple African countries.
Pakistan Africa Trade Development Conference
The ministry has prioritized participation in trade exhibitions in Africa in the future to enhance economic and trade integration. The Ministry of Commerce has also organized Pakistan Africa Trade Development Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2020 in which 246 African delegates from 26 African countries participated.
On Pakistan’s plans to utilize the potential markets of Kenya and Tanzania, he said the exports to Kenya increased to US$289.3 million in 2019-20 from US$265 million in the previous year, recording an increase of nine percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Engage Africa policy
Last year, Pakistan hosted the Envoys Conference titled ‘Engage Africa in Islamabad’. At the conference, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged to “focus on African countries” to increase trade and gain investors’ confidence to attract more investments.