India expresses interest in Ghanaian oil as mega trade show opens
Accra, July 10 (IANS) India is keen to invest in Ghana's hydrocarbon industry, visiting Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said as a large Indian trade expo opened here Monday. Ghana began oil production in 2010 and currently produces about 70,000 barrels a day.
Sharma, who is heading a 200-member trade delegation, India's biggest to any African country, said: "We have a keen interest in the Ghana developing hydrocarbon sector and would discuss this and other sectors for close cooperation."
The exhibition is being jointly organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Ghana, which started oil production in January 2010 and partners with the UK Tullow Oil in the country's Jubilee oil fields, has announced that it will peak its production to about 120,000 barrels next year.
India's interest in Ghana's development was part of its growing interest to play a role in the development of the West Africa region and Africa as a whole through trade, Sharma said at a press conference Monday.
He urged the chambers of commerce in West Africa and India to work towards increasing trade between the two sides from the current $20 billion annually to $40 billion by 2015.
He said: "What we have achieved with trade between India and the West Africa region, it is possible to double the current figure of $20 million over the next three years."
The growth in trade demonstrated India's commitment to partner with Africa for the continent's development, he said, adding the pan-African e-project is "one of the shining examples of cooperation between our people".
Under the project, 47 countries across Africa, have been linked up through the internet and 15 universities have been linked up with their counterparts in India.
"The entire project is without cost or burden to Africa, Sharma said adding, "This is what we believe in and we are not just looking for resources because we believe in investment."
He said India looks at the other needs of its partners and does this by empowering its people. "Within the past three years, India has educated over 20,000 Africans in its institutions."
Ghana Trade and Industry Minister Hannah Tetteh said cooperation between India and Africa is "rooted in good relationship, and that, there are opportunities of growth across the African continent."
She said the decision to hold the exhibition in Ghana was a demonstration of faith in the country's economy. "This is a good time to invest in Ghana because the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 14 percent last year.
"In addition, there is good prognosis for growth and we intend to keep it so because Ghana is the most stable country in the West Africa region," she added.
Tetteh said investments from Indian companies in Ghana has increased over the past few years.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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