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Indian biz delegation to explore investment opp in Africa

A 17-member business delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry, Eastern Region, is on a 11-day trip to South Africa, Zambia and Kenya to strengthen business partnership and cooperation between India and Africa.

"In our assessment, South Africa, Zambia and Kenya are quite attractive for Indian investors in sectors such as manufacturing, mining, infrastructure, services, IT, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, etc. Eastern India will benefit considerably from the natural resources spread across the whole continent," said Sudhir Deoras, chairman, CII, Eastern Region.

The aim of the mission is not only to explore investment opportunities for Indian companies, but also to showcase the inherent strength and potential of the five Eastern states - West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh - and attract investment from South Africa, Zambia and Kenya.

It would also explore business opportunities and try to build a strong framework for B2B meetings, according to a CII media release.

Saugat Mukherjee, regional director, CII Eastern Region, said the delegation will hold interactive sessions with the Indian High Commissioner, CEOs in Johannesburg before joining meeting senior officials of Rand Merchant Bank and First Rand Bank to discuss a wide range of possibilities and issues.

In South Africa, the members will also interact with the representatives of the ANC Progressive Business Forum.

In Zambia and Kenya, too, the Mission members will meet and interact with cabinet-rank secretaries, Indian High Commissioners, chambers of commerce officials, representatives from financial institutions, legal firms to find clarities on legal framework and tax policies.

"In Lusaka, the Zambian capital, we will meet members of the Investment Promotion Board and Indian Business Council of Zambia," said Mukherjee.

With over a billion population, young workforce, vast arable land and natural resources, and a GDP growth of over 5 percent, Africa is fast becoming alluring for Indian businesses, both in terms of trade and investment. Bilateral trade between India and Africa has increased exponentially in the past 20 years or so.

India's trade with Africa has increased from $20 billion in 2006-07 to $55 billion in 2011-12. So, it makes perfect sense for Indian businesses to engage more deeply with Africa. This will go a long way in ensuing that the Indo-African bilateral trade reaches to the projected volume of $90 billion by 2015.