Niger’s Minister for Commerce and Trade Gabo Sabo Moctar on Sunday said his government was planning to establish special economic zones (SEZs) for Pakistan as it looked to attract investment in the infrastructural sector in Africa.


“There is the scope of increasing bilateral trade. Pakistan’s basmati rice is excellent. Niger has a new market for Pakistani exporters. Trade with Pakistan is our priority in pharmaceuticals, agricultural inputs, and other sectors,” he said during a visit to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) headquarters with a business delegation from Niger.


The main goal is to form a cooperative working group for the sharing of expertise in building up SEZs at both the policy and operational levels, so that both countries may establish long-term trade relations.


Minister for Investment Zakaria Wergo, Secretary of Industry Abdoulaye Boubacar, renowned businessman Saleem Gado Sabo, and Pakistan’s ambassador to Niger Ahmed Ali Sirohey were among the delegation’s other participants. All visiting delegations signed agreements with Pakistani businesses to boost bilateral commerce, and there were also business-to-business talks.


FPCCI former president Senator Haji Ghulam Ali and coordinator of the FPCCI capital office Mirza Abdur Rehman along with senior business leaders participated in the negotiations.


FPCCI Chairman Qurban Ali expressed optimism that Pakistani investors and exporters will find a plethora of business possibilities in Niger, as well as connections to African regional economies.


“Pakistani investors can work in infrastructure, agriculture, including textiles, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other industries,” he said, adding exploration of new markets and regional trade integration are key elements for economic and trade expansion to materialize the industrial policy. Whereas exploration of untapped markets in Africa, the European Union (EU), North American countries besides Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) carry major potential in the quest towards increasing connectivity and trade integration with the global economy, he added.


He stated that Pakistan and Niger have extensive economic and commercial ties and that in the future, new sectors must be explored in order to enhance trade volume between the two countries.


The level of trade between the two nations should be expanded in the future, he said, adding that despite the Covid-19 epidemic, Pakistan and African countries are launching a fresh beginning through the Look Africa Campaign. Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, commerce between the two countries rose by 7 percent in 2019-20, he said, adding that Pakistan and African countries are launching a fresh beginning with the Look Africa Campaign.


He said a few months ago in November 2020, a four-member business delegation from Tanzania visited FPCCI during their visit to Pakistan. Mr. Rehman said Pakistan launched the Look Africa Initiative, through which various measures to enhance trade with Africa and increase outreach to major African economies will be taken.


“We will tap the huge potential of Niger’s market through bilateral trade cooperation in fields of textile, auto industry, mining, and agriculture,” he said and pointed out the importance of enhancing economic outreach through a formal structure accompanied by regular government-to-government and business-to-business interactions.


FPCCI former president Haji Ghulam Ali highlighted the different aspects of relations with African countries and said that Africa is a potential region for future trade. He said local businessmen are willing to tap into new markets for trade and investment.