By Maureen Okon/Grace Alegba
Mr Abdul Razak Dawood, the Advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Commence and Investment, on Tuesday declared that Africa was “a promising continent and land of opportunities”.
The envoy stated this on Tuesday in Lagos at the 2nd Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference, a Single Country Exhibition, holding from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25.
He also called for closer economic ties with Africa to harness mutual benefits in trading activities with Pakistan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exhibition targets the business community from Nigeria, other West African nations, as well as non-ECOWAS countries.
NAN reports that 100 companies are participating in the exhibition that showcases pharmaceuticals, paints and chemicals, surgical instruments, beauty and cosmetics, leather products and accessories.
Others are kitchen wares, food and beverages, automotive and agricultural machinery, electrical appliances and information technology.
According to Dawood, until now, Africa has been a distant frontier for Pakistan, economically, with the trade volume not very high.
“It has hovered around only four billion dollars, but the good news is, ever since we created the ‘Look Africa Policy’, our trade is increasing by 21 per cent .
“Soon after coming into power, the Prime Minister of Pakistan took the initiative and asked the ministry of commerce to look at regional connectivity and, in particular, look at Africa.
“As a result of that, we developed a ‘look Africa policy’ and we analysed all the 54 countries of the continent and our study showed a promising continent and a land of opportunity.
“Our vision is to get closer and set a target of doubling our export in the next five years; we are looking at regional connectivity. We are not only looking at Africa. We are equally looking at Asia as well.
“We were trying to get positive results after the first conference in Kenya, but due to the pandemic, we could not come to this country until this time and we will be coming back to Nigeria next year,” he said.
He added that no cooperation was possible without the business men and women from Africa and Pakistan, urging governments of both groups to facilitate robust collaboration.
Speaking earlier, the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Nigeria, Mr Muhammad Azam, said that with global priorities moving away from geo-politics to geo-economies all over the world, national policies must focus on transformation via multiple facets.
“African continent is the largest free trade area with 1.2 billion persons market.
“It has tremendous business potentials and resources to benefit its market and government of Pakistan.
“The ‘Look Africa Initiative’ aims at improving trade and investment relationship between Africa and Pakistan.
“The Pakistan trade development conference, a single country exhibition, is the manifestation of the initiative undertaken by the Pakistani ministry of commerce.
“In the post-COVID-19 environment, this conference will enable the business communities of Pakistan and Africa, especially the Nigerian business community, meet with 100 Pakistani companies to interact with each other,” he said. (NAN)