India-Africa Conclave: Over 500 projects being discussed
Prabhu assures India’s commitment to Africa
Prabhu assures India’s commitment to Africa
Over 500 projects are being discussed between Indian and African entities and India could extend its expertise to build strong logistics linkages in Africa, said Anup Wadhawan, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
Speaking at the 14th CII EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Partnership held in New Delhi on 19 March 2019, he express hope that a large number of African countries will join the India-initiated International Solar Alliance.
The Commerce Secretary said several Indian engineering companies have been engaged in the development of roads, highways, ports, power generation and distribution and watershed projects that connected different African countries.
India’s development cooperation ranges from power projects and dams in Sudan and Rwanda to water treatment plants in Tanzania, sugar factories in Ethiopia and IT Parks in Mozambique and Swaziland, building of the Presidential Place in Ghana and National Assembly building in the Gambia, besides other numerous projects.
As a part of India’s outreach in Africa, Ministry of External Affairs, on 10 September 2018, has signed an agreement with the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) to establish a pan- Africa e-Arogya Bharti Network Project to serve as a digital bridge between India and Africa shrinking the distance between India and Africa even more.
This project is also designed to aid Africa’s journey towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets in education and the health sector and enrich the lives of its predominantly young population.
In his address to the conclave, Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu assured that Africa would be the preferred destination for Indian investments.
He also highlighted the opportunities for deeper India-Africa bilateral cooperation and partnerships in agriculture and food processing, power projects, new and renewal energy development and skills development, among others.
He added that Indian industry will extend all support to African countries to process natural resources in Africa.
Prabhu said that India and Africa should take firm steps to enter into a free trade agreement or a preferential trade agreement.
India’s approach to Africa is continental and determined by the objective of helping the region realise its true potential, said T S Tirumurthi, Secretary (External Relations), Ministry of External Affairs, at the conclave.
The two regions have deepened the bilateral economic and business partnerships, cooperation in the areas of defence, security, cyber security have assumed critical importance, he added.
India is committed to building capacity and creating opportunities in Africa, assured Tirumurth.
Referring to the pioneering tele-course on Big Data analytics being offered by India to people of Ghana and Tanzania, Tirumurthi said the course will be delivered to many more African countries in the near future.
Among other speakers S Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee, highlighted the potential of bilateral cooperation in the areas of affordable housing, affordable healthcare, agriculture and infrastructure.
Cooperation in these fields could make a qualitative difference to the India-Africa partnership and instrumental to India’s role in Africa’s integrated development.
Kuppuswamy called for developing a robust mortgage market in Africa for affordable housing.
The 3-day conclave was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in cooperation with the Export Import Bank of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Ministry of External Affairs.
Over 500 delegates attended the conclave.
In 2017-18, India’s exports to Africa were US$24 billion, whereas imports were US$38 billion.
There is huge potential to expand India-Africa bilateral trade flow, toward which India should look to geographically diversify its trade ties with the African countries, added Dr Wadhawan, calling for a diversified bilateral trade basket.
The conclave marks the pre-eminence of India-Africa partnership in the realm of South-South Cooperation at a time when the global economy is faced with intractable challenges that stem from rising protectionism and trade conflicts. fiinews.com