President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurated the 12th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership, in New Delhi today, stressing that the India-Africa century has begun.
He added that since the 3rd such Summit, India has extended lines of credit of over $7 billion to Africa for 120 projects in 40 countries. A new spirit of awakening and cooperation defines the India-Africa partnership. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the combined GDP of India and Africa would add up to $35 trillion while the combined population of the two regions would have surpassed 4 billion. "Let us accelerate this process,” he remarked.
As the 10th largest industrial economy in the world, India is playing a catalytic role in Africa’s industrial expansion and physical infrastructure development. President Mukherjee said that India is also helping Africa in building a strong skilled manpower base by extending scholarships and technical training opportunities to African students. He urged the participants to intensify bilateral collaboration and joint ventures.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business, Republic of Uganda, said that Africa seeks India’s participation in areas like agriculture, agro-processing, ICT, infrastructure, tourism, healthcare and education. Dispelling any fears about security of life and property in Africa, Dr Rugunda said that Africa is “stable and secure”. He added that Africa ensures security of investments and urged Indian investors to take advantage of the myriad business opportunities in the region.
The King Mswati-III of the Kingdom of Swaziland observed that Indian industry could play a key role in helping Africa’s manufacturing industries to move up the value chain. He cited manufacturing, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and renewal energy as three vital sectors where Indian investors could make key contributions to Africa’s sustained progress.
The King Mswati-III cited the country’s new airport as a gateway to new markets in the region, and added that a new IT park has come up with the support of LoC extended by the EXIM Bank of India. He invited Indian companies to explore investment opportunities in sectors like infrastructure, ICT, mining, tourism, agriculture, etc.
The Republic of Uganda and the Kingdom of Swaziland are the Guest Countries at this year’s two-day Conclave.
Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, stated that the current bleak global trade and investment scenario presents a big opportunity for India and Africa. “We must seize the opportunity,” she said. She pointed out that India saw a 30% increase in inward FDI at a time when the global FDI flows had declined by 16%. The growth in inward FDI flows is greatly augmented by Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ programme.
Referring to the current India-Africa trade flows, the minister said that the bilateral trade volume has increased from $51.67 billion in 2010-11 to $56.69 billion in 2016-17. She cited renewable energy, drugs and pharmaceuticals and healthcare as most promising areas for India-Africa partnerships. Ms Sitharaman also said that India has emerged as a global hub for low-cost bulk drug manufacturing. She added that India has a key role cut out in bolstering Africa’s food security by partnering the region’s efforts to usher in a Green Revolution.
Gen. V K Singh (Retd.), Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, said the ongoing Conclave has attracted the largest participation from Africa since the conclusion of the 3rdIndia-Africa Forum Summit. Underlining the imperative for fostering concrete projects at the Conclave, Gen. Singh said that Indian investments in Africa are directed at delivering concrete benefits to the host African countries. “India is a bright spot for Africa to do business with,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Naushad Forbes, President, CII, noted that India and Africa are the “most dynamic geographies” of the world. He added that CII is deeply committed toward establishing and reinforcing long-term India-Africa partnerships in diverse sectors. CII has an office in Cairo and will be setting up its second office in Africa in Johannesburg.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, in his opening remarks stated that the Conclave since its inception has seen the participation of over 6,000 delegates from 45 African countries and over 5,000 Indian delegates. Business worth $320 billion has been discussed at the annual Conclaves.
9 March 2017