India is firmly committed to realise the new bilateral trade target of $90 billion by year 2015. The concessional duty tariff extended by the Indian government to the least developed countries in Africa is expected to step up African exports to India. Stating this in his address at the valedictory session of the three-day 8th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership held in New Delhi, Mr Madhusudan Ganapathi, Secretary-West, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, said that capacity building is at the forefront of India’s engagements in Africa.
India is establishing around 100 capacity building institutions in Africa, in areas ranging from IT, foreign trade and education, planning and administration, to civil aviation, and vocational training. Through interventions like this, African industry will be better placed to promote value-addition in their industrial and business sectors.
Technology collaborations, transfer of technology and greater participation of the youth in India and Africa will bind the drive future India-Africa partnerships, said Mr Ganapathi, and added that the 21st century will belong to Africa and the Indian Ocean states.
At the session, separate MoUs were signed between Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Crafts (CCIMC), Association of Ghana Industry (AGI), Ghana Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (MCCI), Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, Seychelles Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI), Gambia Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Rwanda Private Sector Federation.
36 ministers addressed the Conclave, Over 600 delegates from Africa and over 500 delegates from India participated in the deliberations.
200 projects worth $30 billion were discussed during the course of the business meetings.
Providing his perspective on the ‘Afro-Indian Consensus’, Mr Jonathan Wutawunashe, Dean, Diplomatic Corps said India and Africa together are capable of achieving any lofty goal. The annual Conclave has acted as a forum for miracles, setting the tone for greater India-Africa cooperation. “We are pursuing the right goals and our partnership should become more visible to the world,” he said.
Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Past President, CII & Chairman, Hero Motor, said in his special address that India and Africa should jointly stem the protectionist trends emerging from economies that once championed the free market principles.
He said that India has a unique experience of guiding its 1 billion people toward a free market economy. “We have learnt from our experience, and from our mistakes. We will be happy to share our growth experience with Africa,” he said.
Mr Munjal underlined India’s demographic advantages but said that both India and Africa face challenges with respect to education, healthcare and abject poverty which need to be addressed. He also said that the infrastructure deficit in Africa and other developmental challenges may be seen as opportunities for deeper India-Africa engagements.
However, he added, “Our businesses not for charity. They need an enabling environment to deliver optimal results. So, let us create a win-win situation.”
Mr Sanjay Kirloskar, Chairman, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, said in his address that food security is one of the biggest challenges for the African societies, especially since the African population is estimated to double in the next 25 years. Innovative financing options for agriculture and irrigation will be crucial for spurring food production growth, he said.
Given Africa’s land and water resources, the continent could become the world’s bread basket, he said.
Mr Syamal Gupta, Chairman, CII Africa Committee, presented the highlights of the proceeding of the Conclave.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, presented the vote of thanks.
20th March 2012