Islamabad : The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with Trade Development Authority of Pakistan/Ministry of Commerceorganized a “Look Africa” Trade Forum that was aimed at exploring new avenues of promoting trade and exports with African countries. The diplomats of Nigeria, Kenya, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Mauritius, and Egypt attended the trade forum. Ms. Maria Kazi, Joint Secretary, Ministryof Commerce and Khalid Rasul, Director, TDAP were also present at the occasion.
Addressing the Trade Forum, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that 54 African countries were a market of over 1 billion people with huge potential for Pakistan to promote trade and exports. He urged that government should sponsor trade delegations to African region to explore new avenues of trade with it. He said that total trade volume of Africa was around $ 1 trillion, but Pakistan’s total trade with it was only 3 billion, which was quite negligible. He emphasized that government should provide incentives to private sector for organizing exhibitions in African countries to introduce more Pakistani products in the region. He said Pakistan has resident missions inonly 15 African countries and stressed that Pakistan should open its missions in all major African countries that would help in improving trade and economic relations with the region.
Ms. Maria Kazi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce gave a detailed presentation on trade potential with Africa. She said Pakistan’s exports to Africa were confined to few products including rice, pharmaceuticals, cement, textiles, surgical and sports goods and urged that private sector should focus on exporting more products to Africa. About planned initiatives of the government for Africa, she said new commercial sections would be opened in Africa and Pakistan would offer PTAs/FTAs on bilateral basis and with African Trading Blocks to promote its trade and exports. She said local Trade Development Officers in African countries would be appointed in African countries where resident missions were not stationed. She said special incentives would be provided to Pakistani companies through new strategic trade policy framework for participating in trade fairs in Africa. She said pharmaceuticals and surgical instruments, electrical appliances, rice, wheat, corn, textiles, cement and constructions materials and services would be given priority focus for Africa. She said trade Fairs would be identified in Africa and single country exhibitions would be arranged in some African countries to introduce more Pakistani products.
Khalid Rasul, Director, TDAP said that government has planned to increase bilateral trade with Africa from existing $3 billion to $5 billion in next five years. Muhammad Naveed, Senior Vice President and Nisar Mirza Vice President, ICCI thanked all the participants for attending the event.
Diplomats of Tunisia, Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan also spoke at the occasion and highlighted the areas that offered great potential for Pakistani products in in their respective countries. They said Western markets have now reached saturation point while Africa was future for trade and Pakistan should give more focus on African region. Zubair Ahmed Malik Chairman Founder Group, MianShaukatMasud, Tariq Sadiq, M. EjazAbbasi, Nasir Qureshi, Khalid Iqbal Malik, Khalid Malik, Fazl-e-Hanan, Ms. Amina Malik, Zikria A Zia, Naeem Siddiqui, ShakeelMunir, Ms. Fatima Azim, M.s Nasira Ali, Rashid Humayun and others also spoke at the occasion.