Businessmen asked to explore Africa markets
The business community should focus on Africa for trade and exports as the African continent offers a huge potential to Pakistan for enhancing trade ties, said Ali Javed, Additional Secretary (Africa) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He was speaking at the Africa Day, organised and celebrated at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).
Javed said that Pakistan had increased its ambassadors up to 20 in the African region in order to improve trade and economic ties with the continent, adding that the government would cooperate with the business community in exploring new opportunities of promoting exports to Africa.
Speaking on the occasion, Morocco Ambassador and Dean of the African Corps Mohamed Karmoune emphasised that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area comprising 55 countries and with a population of around 1.4 billion provided tremendous economic prospects for Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s private sector should take benefit of it by enhancing trade cooperation with the African countries,” he said.
The envoy suggested that the Pakistani business community should explore avenues of joint ventures and investment in Africa, which “is emerging as the continent of the future”.
He highlighted agriculture, industry, mining, IT, renewable energy, textiles, pharmaceuticals, transport, tourism and infrastructure as the potential areas of cooperation between Pakistan and Africa.
ICCI President Muhammad Shakeel Munir stressed that the government should facilitate the private sector in promoting strong business linkages with its African counterparts, which would help in exploring new areas of business collaboration.
“The pandemic has subsided now and it is the right time that both sides facilitate frequent exchange of trade delegations to improve bilateral trade relations,” he said.
Munir asked the government to increase its footprint in Africa by posting more trade envoys and opening more trade wings at the Pakistani embassies in the region.
He emphasised that the government should initiate market access negotiations for bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with the African countries to boost trade and exports.
Founder Group Chairman Khalid Iqbal Malik pointed out that Africa’s rich natural resources, vast import market, strong economic growth patterns and a new continent-wide framework for free trade offered unique opportunities to Pakistan and the business community should accelerate efforts to develop strong trade ties with the African countries.