Pakistan’s relations with African countries

Trade relations between Pakistan and Africa are also of great importance. Pakistan’s total trade with Africa currently stood at US$ 3.6 billion with Pakistan's export volume US$ 1.4 billion and imports volume US$ 2.2 billion from Africa

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Pakistan gives great importance to its relations with the African countries and is serious in promoting relations with them at every sphere. The main objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to promote foreign relations through economic diplomacy. Despite challenges, there is a great potential for mutually beneficial relations with African counties. There is a great potential for further promoting and strengthening Pakistan’s relations with African countries especially in the field of trade and commerce. Therefore, there is a need for taking tangible measures for promoting trade relations between them through diversified foreign policy.  Pakistan is offering training facilities to African diplomats in the Foreign Service Academy, Defence Services Academies and also educational scholarships under Pakistan Technical Assistance Programme (PTAP). The main objective of the PTAP is to earn the goodwill of beneficiary countries as well as to project positive image of Pakistan. Pakistan, as an active member of the Uniting for Consensus (UFC), engages closely with African countries to share and understand each other’s perspectives and to pursue common objectives. The UFC and African positions are companionable in many ways, most remarkably on regional representation and rotation of non-permanent seats of the Security Council. Pakistan and African countries are also cooperating at many international forums, especially at the UN Security Council. On the other hand Pakistan is linked with Africa through Asian African Regional Organization Conference (AASROC), the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for South Technical Cooperation and several Muslim countries through the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). These fora provide institutional framework for cooperation between Pakistan and Africa.

Trade relations between Pakistan and Africa are also of great importance. Pakistan’s total trade with Africa currently stood at US$ 3.6 billion with Pakistan’s export volume US$ 1.4 billion and imports volume US$ 2.2 billion from Africa. Africa is the second-largest continent of the world with 54 sovereign states and population of almost 1.2 billion with collective GDP US$ 3.3 trillion and imports market of around US$ 500 billion. Many of the African countries like Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Mauritius, Namibia and Botswana are the countries with nominal per capita income is more than US$ 3000 and twice of Pakistan. Africa is a diverse continent when it comes to living standard and prolific economies. According to the World Bank report it is expected that most of the African countries will reach at middle income status by 2025 which indicates the current and future market potentials of African region. 10 countries out of the 54 African nations including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania, and Ethiopia constitute 78pc of the total African gross domestic product (GDP). Pakistan is ready to offer and negotiate a preferential trade agreement with three African trading blocs – Southern African Customs Union (SACU), East African Community (EAC), and Economic Community of West African States that constitute (ECOWAS) to further enhance the trade. SACU members are Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland while EAC comprises of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. A similar PTA with ECOWAS, which includes Benin; Burkina Faso; Cabo Verde; Côte d’Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; and Togolese, is also envisioned. Establishment of joint working groups (JWGs) on trade is another step to engage major African countries to have regular interaction. Currently, Pakistan has only 13 joint ministerial commissions with African countries that are not sufficient for institutional strengthening of both sides. The JMCs are only with Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Pakistan’s commerce ministry’s commercial sections exist in different African countries including Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco. The ministry has also prioritised six sectors to promote its exports to African countries including pharmaceuticals and surgical instruments, electrical appliances, rice, wheat, corn, textiles, cement and construction materials and services. There is enough space and opportunities to further augment these relations.

 

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