Islamabad, 29 October 2021 (2021): Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, has announced that Second Pak-Africa Trade Development Conference (PATDC) will take place in Lagos, Nigeria, from 23 to 25 November 2021. The conference is part of Pakistan’s ‘Look Africa Policy’.

Advisor Abdul Razak will lead the Pakistani delegation. The delegation will comprise of officials from the Ministry of Commerce and other government departments.

According to the advisor, more than 100 leading Pakistani companies in textile, pharmaceutical, leather, food, electrical appliances, surgical instruments, sports, etc. will participate in the event. The companies will also display their products at Single Country Exhibition.

Additionally, the advisor informed, in a tweet, the Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan will also set up Single Country Exhibition. It is the largest exhibition of Pakistan’s products in the African continent. Moreover, he stated, “Ministry of Commerce is committed to geographic and product diversification of exports”.

The conference will provide a platform for B2B (Business to Business), B2G (Business to government), and G2G (Government to Government) meetings. Moreover, it will allow both sides to chalk out more avenues of trade and economic collaboration.

Officials at First Pak-Africa Trade Development Conference, Nairobi.

It is to be noted here that First Pak-Africa Trade Development Conference took place from 30-31 January 2020. It was organized in Nairobi, Kenya, keeping in view the Eastern African countries. Contrarily, the Second Pak-Africa Trade Development Conference will cater to the western part of Africa. Buyers from 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and all Nigerian states are expected to partake in the                                                         conference.

Pakistan’s Look Africa Policy

Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce contrived the “Look Africa Policy” in 2017. The policy aims to enhance trade linkages and enhance economic outreach between Pakistan and the world’s second-largest continent. Under this policy, 10 African countries selected for trade promotions are Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Senegal, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Together these countries account for 78% of African GDP (2017, IMF).

Furthermore, under the ‘Look Africa Plan’, Pakistan seeks to negotiate preferential trade agreements with three African trading blocs. These include the South African Customs Union (SAUC), East African Community (EAC), and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Additionally, as per this policy, the country has opened six new trade wings at Pakistan’s embassies in Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Success of the policy

Pakistan’s trade relations with many African countries have been reasonably enhanced since the formulation of the Look Africa policy. According to Ministry of Commerce, the country’s trade with African countries increased to $4.6 billion in 2018-19, as compared to $3billion in 2016-17.

Moreover, Pakistan’s exports to many African countries have been substantially increased. As per the offical data, Pakistan’s exports to Libya grew 914% to $2.369 million in 2020. It was  $0.234mn in 2019. Likewise, the exports to Cameroon increased by over 200% to $2.958million in 2020, as compared to $0.902million recorded in 2019. Furthermore, Pakistan’s exports to Malawi grew substantially by 1254% from just $0.093mn in 2019 to $1.266million in 2020.

Official statistics of increase in trade with African countries revealed by the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan

These statistics reveal that Pakistan’s Look Africa policy is bearing fruitful results under the geographical diversification approach.