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Govt to push exports from select sectors to Africa

Aiming to increase bilateral trade with Africa, the government has identified certain sectors of India's exports to African countries that are presently quite low, the commerce ministry said Monday.

Minister of State for Commerce Sudarsana Natchiappan informed parliament that "the sectors identified as having considerable potential for growth in exports from India to Africa are, namely, transport equipment, pharmaceutical products, machinery, plastic and linoleum products, textiles", a ministry release said.

The minister further informed that in order to enhance India’s exports in these sectors, trade promotion events and bilateral meetings with governments of various African countries have been held in recent year.

"India Show events have been held in South Africa during 2010, in Ethiopia during 2011, in Ghana during 2012, and in Tanzania during 2013," the statement added.

India-Africa bilateral trade during fiscal 2012-13 was worth $70.25 billion, while a target has been set of $90 billion by the year 2015.

While exports from India to Africa in 2012-13 have registered an annual growth of 18.11 percent over exports in the financial year 2011-12, imports from Africa to India have registered a decline of 6.79 percent over the previous year (2011-12).

At the second meeting of India-Africa Business Council (IABC) held Oct 1 at Johannesburg, South Africa, members from the five working proups from both sides met and have recommended a concrete action plan of engagement at bilateral, sub-regional and Pan-African levels to further trade, investment, technology transfer, skill development, capacity building and small industries' development, the statement said.

The minister also said that under the framework of India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), food as well as energy security have been given high priority and provisions made for training, sharing of expertise and setting up of capacity building institutions in this area.