Indo-Africa bilateral trade to be doubled by 2014
The current global economic crisis could be proved beneficial for India and Africa, as it is a concrete opportunity for the both to step up their partnership to a new level, especially in the fields of capacity building and skill development, said Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma.
“The current crisis is an opportunity for both India and Africa; it is time for industry to see this challenge as an opportunity by become more innovative. Both India and Africa had the demographic advantage of a young populace and industry must capitalize on this to take the advantage when recovery returns,” said Sharma at the valedictory session of the 5th Chambers of Indian Industries (CII) - Exim Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Citing the ‘time’ as a concrete opportunity, Sharma called the Indian industries to institutionalize its relationship with Africa by exploring new pathways for sustainable and inclusive growth.
With this move now, India has targeted to invest $500-million in some key projects in Africa to make double the bilateral trade between India and Africa to $70-billion over the next five years.
The trade between India and Africa had begun in 2000-01 and in just six-year duration, the trade relationship has reached to $36-billion in 2007-08 from mere $3-billion in 2000-01.
To enhance the bilateral trade relationship, India has signed trade agreements with 30 African countries. Moreover, India is also exploring the possibility of comprehensive trade pacts with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), comprising Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi.
In this regard, India and Africa have signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)s Tuesday: first between CII and COMESA Business Council (CBC), and second for a 25-million dollar line of credit from the Government of India for Burkina Faso, the partner country for the conclave.
The CII-CBC MoU provides a framework for promoting technical cooperation between the CII and the CBC in all fields of economic activity, while the line of credit to be extended by the EXIM Bank seeks to promote rural electrification in Burkina Faso.
Commenting on India’s key focus areas in Africa, Sharma told that one of India’s focus areas in the future cooperation would be capacity-building in Africa through educational and skill-building programmes.
For this, India has just inaugurated the first phase of Pan-African e-Network Project last month aiming to improve higher education and health facilities of Africa. Through e-Network project, all the major universities & centers of excellence and all major hospitals of Africa would be linked to Indian Universities and major specialists and super-specialist hospitals.
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