By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Consul General of Ghana and former President ICCI Shahid Rasheed Butt on Friday said Pakistan can boost exports to Africa to overcome its financial problems. He said that Africa is having over $3 trillion GDP and the continent can become a prize for Pakistan which must be explored by the business community.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the Look Africa Policy envisions greater bilateral trade for which the government, as well as the business community, should strive hard. He said that Pakistan total trade with 54 African nations is just a few billion dollars while there is a great potential to boost trade with Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana.
All the above mentioned countries constitute over 80 percent of the total African GDP while the options of trade agreements with African trading blocks are open, he added. Pakistan should not delay establishment of more joint working groups on trade to engage African countries for regular interaction to exploit opportunities, he demanded.
The number of joint ministerial commissions (JMCs) should also be increased and the meetings of existing JMCs should be held frequently, he said, adding that the number of embassies and high commissions should be increased while all the missions should have effective commercial sections. Pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, electrical appliances, rice, wheat, corn, textiles, cement, and construction materials and different services have a good export potential which must be exploited to achieve the goal of doubling its trade with Africa more than two-fold by 2025.
The time has come to unlock the true potential of our trade relations and in this regard connectivity is the key to socio-economic development, he said.