India-Africa business conclave opens with large African participation

March 15th, 2010 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Making a strong pitch for scaling up trade and investment with Africa, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Monday inaugurated a two-day conclave that is set to renew economic momentum between the two sides with business projects worth at least $10 billion.
“We wish to make the positive emotive engagement between India and Africa into a successful economic engagement for mutual bnenfit,” Krishna said while kicking off the conclave that’s attended by 380 African business and political leaders from 34 African countries.

“We propose to utilize our government’s financial commitments to Africa to catalyse greater trade and investment,” he said.

We in the government of India remain committed to support our African partners and the Indian private sector to support these goals, Krishna said.

Stressing on the growing role of the private sector in driving the economic engagement between India and Africa, Krishna said: “The India-Africa relationship has evolved into a vibrant one. In this role the private sector in particular has acquired larger and more significant dimensions.”

Krishna stressed on distinctive features of India’s engagement with Africa that includes creating capacity-building institutions, human empowerment and mutually beneficial trade and investment.

Alluding to the joint action plan the two sides launched last week to implement key decisions of the 2008 India-Africa Forum Summit, Krishna said India planned to create a host of training institutes in Africa in in areas of diamond polishing, IT, vocational education and Pan-African Stock Exchange.

“We will also create 10 vocational training institutions and five human settlement institutes,” he said.

The mood among the Indian and African business community at the conclave being held Hotel Taj Palace here at is upbeat. Nearly 150 projects worth $10 billion are expected to be discussed between the two sides over the next two days.

“We remain confident that the overall engagement between India and Africa remains vibrant and full of vitality. In such a positive ambience, there are no hurdles to the enhancement of business and entrepreneurship,” Krishna said.

India’s trade with Africa is currently estimated to be around $39 billion.

Organised jointly by the Export-Import Bank of India, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the commerce and external affairs ministries, the conclave is also expected to lay the roadmap for the next India-Africa Summit scheduled next year after the highly successful maiden summit here in 2008.

With “Developing Synergies: Creating a Vision” as the central theme, the conclave will be linked to four sub-themes, guided by the objectives spelt at the 2008 summit. These are: partnership, rural economies, Africa tomorrow and going green.

Ghana’s Vice-President John Dramani Mahama is the guest of honour at the conclave.

With China increasing its footprints all over Africa with its two-day touching over $100 billion, Indian businesses, powered by the private sector, are expanding their operations across the continent with affordable technology and skill enhancement distinguishing their operations.

The CII has said the conclave should become a “platform to help create a long-term vision for economic engagement between Indian and African economies”.

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