India-Africa Summit to bring developing economies closer at WTO
The India-Africa Summit beginning on Monday is expected to open an array of opportunities for trade and investment even as the members participating in the event are keen on working “hand-in-hand” to safeguard their interests at World Trade Organisation and other global fora. Describing Africa as a “frontier of opportunity”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India was interested in Africa’s economic growth and its integration with global economy and the country was willing to work hand-in-hand with the region to maximize mutual benefit. The four-day summit is expected to host hundreds of business delegations from African countries. “We have sought to complement our needs with each other’s strengths. Our partnership also encompasses a broad range of human endeavors from agriculture to healthcare, security, renewable energy and emerging areas like the blue economy. These areas of cooperation reflect the strength of our fraternal relations and our commitment to go boldly together into the future,” Swaraj said on Sunday. Addressing a forum of Indian and African journalists, the external affairs minister also emphasised on the need of cooperation in information, communication, media & entertainment (ICME) sectors in order to unleash the potential of digital, social and new media platform. India’s trade with Africa has surged by 20 times in the last 15 years. The country’s bilateral trade with African countries stands at over $70 billion, with India’s total investments accounting for about $30-35 billion. India has extended concessional line of credit of $7.4 billion to Africa. A major part of the credit has already been approved and over half of it has been allotted. So far, India has been engaged in establishing 137 new projects in 41 African countries. Swaraj said India and Africa needed more robust collaborations in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, energy, innovation and health in order to ensure a multifaceted development. Africa which houses a number of fast developing economies can also collaborate with India on various issues to be discussed during the 10th ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation to be held in Kenya in December. “Later this year, in December, we will witness the culmination of the global discourse in two other critical areas— climate change and world trade – in the form of COP 21 on Climate Change in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial in Kenya,” Swaraj said. India, although a late entrant in business activities with Africa, has undertaken several measures to enhance its presence across the continent. Several Indian companies including Mahindra & Mahindra, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, State Bank of India, Tata Automobile, Apollo Tyres, L&T Infotech and Tata Steel have their presence in the region.
October 26, 2015 | 4:06pm IST.