Indian-African bilateral trade is projected to go up to $90 billion by 2015, from the current level of $60 billion, as per the targets set by India's minister of commerce, industry and textiles and representatives of the African states at their meeting in New Delhi today.
The ministers agreed on the need to strengthen trade relationship between the two sides, inter-alia, through building of trade-related capacity and the conclusion of trade cooperation agreements between India and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) countries.
''Our leaders had set a target of $70 billion by 2015 but we can note with satisfaction that last year we crossed $60 billion. A 20-fold growth within a decade is indeed an achievement worth applauding. I propose that given the current growth rate, we may agree to revise the trade target to $90 billion by 2015,'' said Sharma.
The ministers recognised the important role of the following Pan-African institutions being set up by the Indian government under the umbrella of the 'India-Africa Forum Summit', for capacity building and human resource development across many areas, which include:
- India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade
- India-Africa Diamond Institute
- India-Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration
- India-Africa Institute of Information Technology
- India-Africa Food Processing Cluster
- India-Africa Integrated Textile Cluster
- India-Africa Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting
- India-Africa University for Life and Earth Sciences
- India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development
- India-Africa Civil Aviation Academy
The African Ministers acknowledged the Indian government's initiative to set up integrated textiles as well as other clusters in African countries, to address the need for value-addition in the textiles sector in Africa. The proposed integrated clusters are expected to garner investments of $350 million and generate employment for 60,000 textile workers.
During the meeting, the two sides reiterated their commitment towards the centrality of the development dimension and the expeditious completion of the Least Developed Countries' (LDC) issues in the Doha Development Agenda, and agreed that by concluding the Doha Round of negotiations with development at its core, the multilateral trading system envisaged by the WTO would be strengthened.
India and Africa share a common platform on many issues of importance to developing countries and their joint efforts have played a key role in preventing any dilution of the development agenda.
During the meeting, the ministers launched the India-Africa Business Council (IABC), which is co-chaired by Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal from India side and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON, president and CEO of Dangote Group, Nigeria, from the African side.
The India-Africa business Council will explore mutual cooperation in some of the core sectors like agriculture (including agro-processing), manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, mining, petroleum and natural gas, information technology and IT enabled services, gems and jewellery, banking, financial services (including microfinance), energy, core infrastructure (including roads and railways).
The meeting also announced the launch of the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme in the C-4 countries (Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Mali), Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. Under the Technical Assistance Programme, the government of India provides assistance to the African states in building capacity, technical expertise and thereby competitiveness in the field.
IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Limited is the project management agency for implementing the project.
The 'India-Africa Trade Ministers Dialogue' is an annual event, of which the first meeting was held in Addis Ababa in May 2011, on the occasion of the second Africa-India Forum Summit held at head of state level.
The council will suggest the way forward on enhancing economic and commercial relations between India and Africa and also identify and address issues which hinder growth of economic partnership between India and Africa.
Commissioner for economic affairs of African Union Dr Maxwell Mkwezalamba, trade and industry minister of the Republic of Burundi Victoire Ndikumana, minister of commerce and industry of Central African Republic Marlyn Mouliom Roosalem, commerce and industry minister of the Republic of Chad Mahamat Allaou Taher, Trade minister of Ethiopia Kebede Chane, minister of commerce and industry of Liberia Miata Beysolow, minister of industry and trade of the Republic of Malawi John Bande, deputy minister of trade and industry of Namibia Tjekero Tweya, minister of trade and private sector promotion of Togo Ahoumey-Zunu Kwesi A Leleagodji Lolonyo, minister of trade, industry and cooperatives of Uganda Amelia Kyambadde, minister of state for animal husbandry of Uganda Bright Rwomi Rama and minister of commerce and industry of Zambia Robert K Sichinga, participated in the 2nd India-Africa Trade Ministers Meeting.