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Diaspora calls for banks and credit facility in promoting African trade

DVC connects with Indian-African businesses


DVC connects with Indian-African businesses


The Indian diaspora has called for setting up of Indian banks and improve credit lines as New Delhi explores avenues for expanding trade with the African region.

These were among a range of suggestions-feedback from the diaspora which was reached out through a Digital Video Conference (DVC) held 3-6 May 2019 by the Commerce Ministry and Indian High Commissions and Embassies of eleven African countries.

The major issues highlighted by the Indian Business Community in these 11 countries are:

Improving the Line of Credit system and developing a facility for an affordable and competitive funding;

Setting up of Indian Banks/financial institutions in Africa;

Enhanced Buyers’ Credit facility for promotion of trade between the two regions;

Reviewing and liberalizing visa policies from both sides;

Need for direct flights between India and African countries;

Exploring the possibility of rupee trade to address the issue of shortage of dollars in the region;

Creation of common database of buyer-suppliers in the two regions for facilitating matchmaking for enhancement of bilateral trade;

Development of a robust trade dispute settlement mechanism;

More frequent and structured country/sector specific trade exhibitions in Africa;

Establishment of country chapters of FICCI or CII in Africa;

Frequent visits of policy makers, chamber of commerce and investors for familiarization with local business and investment regime for informed decisions

The DVC interactions with Indian Diaspora were held in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, and Mauritius, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Madagascar. It was attended by over 400 members of the business community in the 11 countries.

The initiative was to build an effective engagement with the Indian business community in Africa in order to further deepen and strengthen India-Africa trade ties.

India’s 2017-18 trade with the African region was US$62.69 billion (8.15% of India’s total trade with the World). India’s share of exports to African countries as a percentage of India’s total exports to the world was 8.21% in 2017-18.

The African region’s share in India’s total imports from the World accounted for 8.12% in 2017-18.

Today, African countries present immense opportunities for India with the world’s largest land mass, 54 countries, a population growing to be almost equivalent to that of India, huge mineral resources, oil wealth, a youthful population, falling poverty levels and increasing consumption patterns, said the Commerce Ministry in a statement on 7 May 2019.

Thus, Africa has a huge demand for new business models for market entry, stable market access, entrepreneurship and investments in transport, telecom, tourism, financial services, real estate and construction.

The Ministry has emphasized the need for a multipronged strategy for further enhancing trade and investment ties between the two regions.

The Ministry recognizes that for formulating an effective export strategy it is imperative to engage the Indian business community in Africa for mutual gain for both sides as trade relations between the people of same origin instill greater confidence amongst trade partners.

The Indian community in Africa is playing a vital role in all fields like politics, business and education.

As per the latest available estimates the current strength of the Indian Diaspora in Africa is 2.8 million of which 2.5 million are PIOs and rest 220,967 are NRIs.

Total overseas Indians are 30.83 million of which 17.83 million are PIOs and 13 million are NRIs. (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, 2016). Indian Diaspora in Africa constitutes 9.11% of the total Diaspora of India.

The inherent strength of India in Africa is its rich and vast Diaspora which has established strong links with the political, economic and social fabric of the African continent.

In order to formulate a strategy to boost India-Africa Trade & Investment, the Indian Diaspora in Africa has to be leveraged further in order to ensure that the strategy is effective.

Department of Commerce has welcomed the suggestions of the Indian business community and assured that these suggestions will be shared with relevant stakeholders and departments in order to incorporate the suggestions in the India-Africa strategy for trade promotion.

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