Pakistan-Africa relations have a deep rooted historic and emotional bond which dates back to the period of anti-colonial struggle. Pakistan was the first Muslim country to gain independence from British colonialism, and later, to spearheaded moral and diplomatic support for liberation movements in African countries. Also, at times of emergencies in Africa, Pakistan’s United Nation Peacekeeping missions have been at the forefront. Many eminent Pakistanis have served on several African assignments, where they not only contributed their expertise for institutional development in Africa, but also gave African continent a voice in the international community.
However, despite the shared cordiality in Pakistan-Africa relations, Pakistan’s foreign policy lacks the vigor required for unlocking the hidden potential in these relations. African continent is a rising market of 1.26 billion people. It is rich in mineral resources and an exporter of energy resources. In 2010, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) described the potential and progress of African economies as “lions on the move”.[i] On the contrary, Pakistan-Africa trade is negligible. On the diplomatic front, Pakistan’s presence in Africa is only confined to a few countries, i.e. Pakistan has only thirteen missions to cover 54 African countries, while others are covered through concurrent accreditation. Similarly, Pakistan’s state level visits to Africa are also numbered, and only with occurrence after long intervals.