India eyes $100 bn trade with Africa by 2015: Sharma


India targets to boost trade with African countries to USD 100 billion by 2015 from nearly USD 65 billion registered last year, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Monday.

The trade target has been revised upward in view of the better than expected economic engagements between the two regions.

Trade ministers of India and Africa at a meeting held in March 2012 had set a target of USD 90 billion trade by 2015.

"We are upwardly revising the target to at least USD 100 billion by 2015 because I feel that it is achievable," Sharma said after meeting his counterparts from various African countries here.

In fact, the ministers expressed hope that the USD 100 billion trade target could be achieved even a year earlier in 2014 if the two regions made appropriate efforts.

"We may end up achieving it by the end of 2014 if we continue working together in the same spirit in which we have been working," Sharma said.

India-Africa trade surged 20-fold between 2000 and 2011. In 2000, trade between India and African countries was USD 3 billion and it crossed USD 60 billion in 2011.

Trade and other senior ministers of many African countries are in New Delhi to attend the India-Africa Project Partnership conclave.

Seven heads of state or government and more than 80 senior ministers and parliamentarians are part of the 900 delegates from 45 African countries participating at the three-day event being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Export-Import Bank of India.

Regarding investments, Sharma said Indian investments in Africa would soon touch USD 50 billion.

During the meeting, Sharma asked his African counterparts to avail the facilities of the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme, announced by India for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

The Scheme grants duty-free access on 85 percent of tariff lines and preferential access on 9 percent of tariff lines, covering 92.5 percent of global exports of all LDCs.

The average margin of preference under this scheme is in the range of 50-60 percent.

"Of the 28 LDCs who have joined the scheme, 21 countries are from Africa. We encourage other African LDCs to also avail of the scheme," the minister said in a statement after the meeting.