India and Africa have targetted to raise India-Africa bilateral trade to $90 bn by 2015, up from $60 billion in 2011.
The decision was arrived at between the commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, and African trade and industry ministers today at the second meeting of the India-Africa trade ministers, in New Delhi.
During the meeting, co-chaired by Dr Maxwell M Mkwezalamba, commissioner for economic affairs, African Union Commission, and Sharma, the ministers also announced the launch of the India-Africa Business Council (IABC), co-chaired by Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Group, and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, president, chief executive, Dangote Group of Nigeria.
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.
The core sectors of cooperation, which will be explored by IABC are agriculture, including agro-processing, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, mining, petroleum and natural gas, IT and IT enabled services, gems and jewellery, banking, financial services (including microfinance), energy, core infrastructure including roads and railways.
The ministers also announced the formation of the 'cotton technical assistance programme' in the C-4 countries (Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Mali ), Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. The technical assistance programme in the cotton sector is an initiative of the Indian government under the aegis 'India-Africa Forum Summit' and is aimed at helping the cotton growing African countries.
IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Limited is the project management agency for implementing the project.
The ministers also agreed to strengthen trade relationships between India and Africa by building trade-related capacity and concluding 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. said Sharma.
Sharma added, "I propose that given the current growth rate, we may agree to revise the trade target to $90 billion by 2015.''
The Indian government is seting up the following pan-African Institutions under the umbrella of the India-Africa Forum Summit, for capacity building and human resource development:
- 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, and
- India-Africa Civil Aviation Academy
The African ministers acknowledged the Indian government's initiative in setting up an 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 raise investments of $350 million and generate 60,000 new textile jobs.
During the meeting, India and Africa 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.
The 'India-Africa trade ministers dialogue' is an annual event, of which the 1st 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.
Ministers from the African region who attended the second India-Africa trade ministers meeting:
- Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, commissioner for economic affairs, (equivalent to minister), African Union
- Victoire Ndikumana, minister of trade, industry, posts and tourism, Republic of Burundi
- Marlyn Mouliom Roosalem, minister of commerce and industry, Central African Republic
- Mahamat Allaou Taher, minister of commerce and industry, Republic of Chad
Kebede Chane, minister of trade, Ethiopia
- Miata Beysolow, minister of commerce and industry, government of Liberia
- John Bande, MP, minister of industry and trade, Republic of Malawi
- Tjekero Tweya, deputy minister of trade and industry, Namibia
- Ahoumey-Zunu Kwesi A Leleagodji Lolonyo, minister of trade and private sector promotion, Togo
- Amelia Kyambadde , minister of trade, industry and cooperatives, Uganda
- Bright Rwomi Rama, minister of state for animal husbandry, Uganda
- Robert K Sichinga, minister of commerce, trade and industry, Zambia