February 22, 2019: Honorary Consul General of Rwanda ,Farooq A. Khawaja Friday said that Africa is billions dollars export market for Pakistan, which has been neglected so far and stressed that Pakistani exporters should accelerate efforts to tap this huge market of 1.25 billion people to enhance exports.
All Pakistani exportable products including pharmaceuticals, textiles, rice, sports goods and others have good demand in Africa, he said this while addressing to a gathering of local business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).
He said that the current century was the century of Africa and many big economies of the world including USA, China, India, France and Turkey were enhancing their presence in Africa, but Pakistan was missing from the scene.
He said that Pakistan was focusing on EU, Middle East and North America for trade and exports while Africa was the most lucrative market for it and Pakistan should give more focus to this big market.
Farooq A. Khawaja said that China had 50 missions in Africa, India 48, but Pakistan has only 14 missions, which showed that Pakistan was not paying due attention to this region.
He said China had invested $197 billion in Africa while India was the 5th largest investor in Africa, but Pakistan had ignored this region for trade and investment.
He said with better efforts, Pakistan could increase $4-5 billion exports to Africa within years.
Highlighting the potential of Rwanda, he said that it had brought drastic economic reforms and was No.2 in Africa on ease of doing business.
He said that 44 African countries had signed a free trade agreement last year paving way for a liberalized market for goods and services.
Thus by exporting to Rwanda, Pakistan can get easy market access to African continental.
He said that ICCI should form a delegation for Rwanda to study the African market and assured of his cooperation to facilitate the visit.
Speaking at the occasion, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Ahmed Hassan Moughal, said that as a first step, Pakistan and Rwanda should arrange direct flights that would facilitate in promoting trade relations.
He said that Pakistan’s share in total trade of African countries is 0.3 percent, which is quite negligible and stressed that government should cooperate with private sector in exploring African market.
He said that government’s support in organizing single country exhibitions in Rwanda and other African countries would help in introducing Pakistani products to this huge untapped market.
Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that government had formed a Look Africa policy, but so far no tangible progress had been made to penetrate the African market.
They said that TDAP should organize frequent trade delegations to Africa so that private sector could capture better market share in African region.