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India-Africa Biz Council bats for SMEs

New Delhi, Dec 10 (KNN) Members of the five working groups of the India-Africa Business Council (IABC) from both the sides have recommended a concrete action plan for the development of SMEs and to boost trade.

In Financial Year 2012-13, India- Africa bilateral trade was USD 70.25 billion, and this could increase considerably through expansion of trade in new areas and sectors.

“The target for India-Africa bilateral trade has been set as USD 90 billion by the year 2015,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, E M Sudarsana Natchiappan informed Parliament today.

“Certain areas/sectors have been identified in some African countries where India’s exports are presently quite low and the share of India’s exports in those countries’ global imports in these sectors is also low and thus India has the potential to export these identified commodities to these countries,” he said.

The sectors such as transport equipment, pharmaceutical products, machinery, plastic and linoleum products, and textiles have huge potential for growth in exports from India to Africa. 

In order to enhance India’s exports in these sectors, trade promotion events such as the multi-sectoral ‘India Show’ events, comprising of a large exhibition showcasing the Indian products, technology and services and business seminar, participation in international trade fairs, buyer seller meets and reverse buyer sellers’ meets with Governments of various African countries have been held in recent years.

Further, ‘India Show’ events have been held in South Africa during 2010, in Ethiopia during 2011, in Ghana during 2012, and in Tanzania during 2013.

In the last two years, India-Africa bilateral trade has grown from USD 51.67 billion in FY 2010-11 to USD 70.25 billion in FY 2012-13, a growth of 35.96 per cent.

During Financial Year 2012-13, India’s exports to Africa were USD 29.14 billion and India’s imports from Africa were USD 41.11 billion.

During FY.2012-13, exports from India to Africa have registered an annual growth of 18.11 per cent over exports in FY 2011-12, whereas Imports from Africa to India have registered a decline of 6.79 per cent in FY 2012-13, as compared to FY 2011-12.

IABC was set up in 2012 to provide an institutional platform for sustained exchange of business communities between India and Africa.

The 2nd meeting of IABC held in Johannesburg, South Africa on October-1, focused on promoting engagement at bilateral, sub-regional and PAN-African level to further trade, investment, technology transfer, skill development, capacity building, SME Development etc. 

During the 3rd Africa-India Trade Ministers Meeting held in South Africa on 1st October, 2013, the Indian and African Ministers agreed that there is a vast potential for accelerating investment flows in the potential sectors of cooperation, including in Agriculture and Agro-processing, Pharmaceuticals, Textiles, Mining, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (IT & ITES), Gems and Jewellery, Core Infrastructure including Roads and Railways.