New Delhi: According to Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Government of India, India could be looked upon as a trusted partner of Africa. The Minister was addressing the Ministerial Session on “Enhancing India’s Trade & Investment with Africa through Bilateral, Regional & Continental level Partnership” at the 15th CII – Exim Bank Digital Conclave on India – Africa Project Partnership. According to the Minister, India and Africa could work together to bring peace and prosperity to the continent. He highlighted the support that was provided by India to African nations during the COVID-19 crisis.
Referring to the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Minister stated that this provided an enormous opportunity for India to increase trade and investment with Africa. The minister said that this would help in the establishment of India-Africa value chains in areas such as textiles, pharma, auto, agro processing and information and communication technology. The Minister pointed out that India had already accorded duty-free imports on 98% of India’s tariff lines for goods being imported from Africa as a part of its Duty-Free Tariff Preference Scheme for LDCs. This provided enormous market access for African goods in India.
He stated that India and Africa could work together in areas such as technology transfer, skilling, agriculture, healthcare, solar energy, technology parks, railway infrastructure among others.
In her address, Hon. Ms Lucia Iipumbu, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Republic of Namibia stated that Namibia could act as a gateway to the Southern Africa region thorough its membership of the Sothern African Development Community (SADC), the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and now through the AfCFTA. She invited Indian Industry to invest in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food processing, healthcare and ICT in Namibia.
Hon Mr Ivan Magalhães do Prado, Secretary of State for Industry, Republic of Angola in his address stated that AfCFTA will expand Intra – Africa trade and India was invited to be at the forefront of this transformation. According to him, India needed Africa as much as Africa needed India, He highlighted that some of the areas that India and Angola could work together included telecom, oil and gas and pharmaceuticals among others.
Hon. Ms Amelia Anne Kyambadde, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Republic of Uganda encouraged India to use AfCFTA as a platform to access the African Continent. She suggested that India should develop infrastructure in terms of railways, air and maritime through a PPP approach, The Minister suggested that India should not just extract mineral resources but also value add to them. Skilling of youth was another area which Indian industry could look at.
Hon. Ms Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of Rwanda stated that her country was undertaking several reforms to promote Ease of Doing Business and currently it ranked as the 2nd highest country in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings in Africa. she pointed out that Indian companies had already invested in sectors such as manufacturing, ICT and real estate among others. She was of the view that with the AfCFTA becoming a reality, Indian companies could help Africa address its supply side constraints.
Hon. Mr Jean-Lucien Bussa Tongba, Minister of External Trade, Democratic Republic of Congo stated that Africa had many opportunities to offer India in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, hydrocarbons among others. He stated that the Democratic Republic of Congo had huge availability of arable land and forest resources which could be exploited. In addition, Indian industry could also look at investing in mining, cement, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals etc.
Hon. Mr Roy Kachale, Minister of Industry, Republic of Malawi stated that India should focus on transfer of technology, value addition to primary products and infrastructure development. He also stressed on the need to focus on high tech cooperation.
Hon. Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of Ghana stated that the Exim Bank of India could help finance procurement of machinery, technology and know-how. He also suggested that CII and the Association of Ghana Industries should work together to facilitate private sector cooperation between Indian and Ghanian Industry.
Hon. Mr Lawrence Karanja, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Republic of Kenya stated that the continent barely accounts for 5% of global carbon emissions and thanks to AfCFTA provides Indian industry with an opportunity to invest. Africa also has large tracts of arable land which Indian Industry can undertake agricultural activity on. It can also provide Indian Industry with a large market for manufactured goods.
According to Mr. Aliyu Mohammed Abubakar, Director General – Trade Bilateral, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, Republic of Nigeria, his country was committed to improving ties with India. He invited Indian Industry to invest in sectors such as minerals, agriculture, power & energy, infrastructure development and human resource development.
Mr Noel Tata, Chairman, CII Africa Committee stated that India could be an interesting market for African products and the DFTP scheme provides enormous market access for the same. He also pointed out that Indian companies could help with infrastructure development in Africa as well as in areas such as IT, healthcare and manufacturing.
Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII stated that an investment-led trade approach could help sustain the dynamic trade growth between India and Africa, help extend trade both in terms of the number of partners involved as well as the range of goods and services traded. Investments for joint ventures between the countries would best open up the route for enhancing goods trade.
The CII – JETRO Report on “Japan- India Business Cooperation in Asia Africa Region” was launched at the session along with a website on India-Japan Business Cooperation in Asia – Africa.