India-Africa Investing in the Future

Roundup 2014 - Africa Dairy

To sensitise the Indian industry to invest in Africa, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) organised a conference on ‘India–Africa: Investing In The Future’, on November 25, 2014, at Le Meridien, New Delhi.

India-Africa trade stood barely at $5 billion a decade ago. The bilateral trade is anticipated to climb to more than $75 billion in 2014, and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2015. India is currently the fourth largest trading partner of Africa and largest trade partner of Nigeria, Angola, South Africa and Egypt. Despite the multifold increase, India is still playing catch up to the $200 billion China-Africa trade. With the numerous opportunities that ‘Rising Africa’ offers, it is time that the Indian business community seriously start thinking about investing in Africa in a big way.

To sensitise the Indian industry to invest in Africa, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) organised a conference on ‘India–Africa: Investing In The Future’, on November 25, 2014, at Le Meridien, New Delhi. The conference had two key sessions: ‘inaugural session’ and a session on ‘Africa: Explore the Unexplored’.

Delivering the keynote address, H.E. Ms Gennet Zewide, Dean of African Missions in India and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia said, “There is an unexplored investment opportunity in Africa; it has 50 percent of the world’s gold, 90 percent of the cobalt, 40 percent of the world’s potential hydroelectric power, 65 percent of the manganese, and millions of acres of untilled farmland, as well as other natural resources. The continent also has large reserves of oil. However, the main driving force for the development and growth are not these resources but African government’s investment in educating its large pool of young workforce, investing in infrastructure and the health of its people”.

Ms Zewide further said, “Africa’s investment and business appeal is an opportunity for prospective business in India and elsewhere. Africa took a significant political and policy measure by establishing regional markets such as COMESA, SADC and ECOWAS etc, which foster trade and investment relations amongst member countries by removing tariff and other trade barriers.”

“In order to grow further and realise our vision of reaching the level of a middle income economy as of 2020-23, a five year growth and transformation plan has been formulated in which agriculture, agro processing and manufacturing sectors such as textile, leather and chemical industries are given priority. In order to facilitate investment in the manufacturing sector, the government is also setting up industrial zone with the necessary,” added Ms Gennet Zewide.

In his inaugural address, Mr DS Dheshi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India said that the Ministry of Commerce will materialise the PDC (Project Development Company) by the end of this year to identify projects and take them up in a fast-track manner with active involvement of the governments of those countries.

He said, “The important development in progress is to set up a PDC (Project Development Company) by the leading financial institutions of India led by EXIM Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), ILFS in partnership with the African Development Bank (ADB). There is a proposal to set up a company which will identify projects and take them up in a fast-track manner with the active involvement of the government of those countries and business entities of Indian sites.”

The welcome address was delivered by Ambassador VB Soni, Chairman, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance. He said that from a level of $25 billion in 2005-06, India’s bilateral trade with Africa increased to $67 billion in 2011-12. This is likely to touch the $100 billion mark in the next few years.

Mr Richard Fenning, Global CEO, Control Risks, and Ms Preeti Sinha, Senior President and Global Convenor, Yes Bank also presented their views at the session. Mr DS Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM delivered the concluding remarks.

In the session on ‘Africa: Explore the Unexplored’, there were presentations by various African missions promoting their country, key potential opportunities that their country offers and key projects on offer for Indian investors.

The conference was an excellent opportunity for Indian investors looking for an opportunity to invest in Africa, and opened new avenues of investment and trade.

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Author

Aamir H Kaki

Reported by Aamir H Kaki

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.

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