Pakistan to sign new pacts with African countries to boost tradeBreaking

June 15, 2022

Trade between Pakistan and African countries is far less than the neighbouring countries. If the ‘Engage Africa Initiative’ – launched in 2019 – is implemented effectively and speedily, it can potentially change the fortunes in favour of Islamabad.

Currently, Pakistan’s earnings from trade with some African countries is far less than the real potential.

By taking proper initiatives, African markets can prove to be a better trade and business destination for Pakistan.

“China and India’s collective trade volume with the African continent is about $60 billion. On the other hand, trade volume between Pakistan and African countries is about $4 billion,” Jamshed Akhtar Sheikh, Senior Vice-President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), told WealthPK during an interview.

He said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) connects about 1.4 billion people across 55 countries. “The gross domestic product of the African continent is around $2.3 trillion. Such a potential is lucrative for Pakistan to seek new trade and business ventures with African nations.”

Jamshed Akhtar said Pakistani businessmen could launch ventures with their counterparts in multiple fields, including agriculture, industry, mining, information technology, renewable energy, textiles, pharmaceuticals, transport, infrastructure development, and tourism. He also emphasised the need to establish special business wings in Pakistani embassies in African countries to promote trade and business activities.

He also stressed the need to ink new trade agreements with African countries. “The absence of such agreements is one of the main reasons keeping the Pakistani entrepreneurs from doing business in Africa. The existence of proper trade and business agreements is the need of the hour.”

He said that AfCFTA was an ambitious trade pact forming the world’s largest free-trade area measured by the number of countries participating. Its core initiative is to create a single market for goods and services in African economic integration.

The ICCI senior vice-president said Pakistan launched ‘Engage Africa Initiative’ back in 2019 to double trade and business volumes with the continent by the year 2025, and called for its speedy and effective implementation to realise the goals. 

The Islamabad chamber leader said the business community needed proper orientation to launch commercial ventures in Africa. He said Pakistan and African countries could also launch barter trade in goods and services.