Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan on Friday informed the Senate that the new trade policy 2022-2025 was being finalized aimed at addressing all impediments and challenges particularly due to COVID-19 pandemic that has hampered country’s export growth. Responding to various supplementary questions during question hour, the adviser said that the government was also taking every possible step to increase the country’s exports. The country’s export to African countries registered a 7 percent increase in just one year, he said. He said that the prime minister has assigned the target of increasing our exports to Africa by 20 percent. Earlier, Pakistan had three missions in African countries, which now have been increased to nine for enhancing the country’s exports, he added. Dr Babar Awan said that Pakistan was exporting tractors to Sudan and Angola, three wheelers to Ethiopia and transformers and home appliances to other African countries. To a question he said that vigorous negotiations were underway with container companies to solve the problems of exporters. He said that the total population of Africa was approximately 1.3 billion, i.e. 15pc of the world’s population, inhabiting 54 countries. “Pakistan needs to develop more sustained political efforts if it wants to stay at the front in an area of great strategic significance. Pakistan’s trade with Africa had been stagnant at around $3 billion per year for many years,” he said. He said that the main reason for this low trade volume has been the low level of engagement of Pakistan with Africa. Africa was a huge market for exports of pharmaceuticals, surgical, engineering goods etc. Furthermore, services form an integral part of almost all African economies, he said. He said that there was a significant potential for export of IT services to Africa. Africa was also home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world like Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, which had recorded persistent growth rates of more than 5pc in the last decade, he said. He said in light of the above, the Ministry of Commerce launched its “Look Africa Policy” initiative in 2018, to enhance focus and increase engagement with Africa, the second largest continent with a collective GDP of $2.20 trillion.