India, Africa trade to touch $70 bn by 2015: Minister

May 20th, 2011 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Trade between India and Africa will touch $70 billion by 2015 even as the South Asian economic giant has become a leading investor in the continent with an investment of $33 billion till date, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here Friday.

“We are well on our way to achieve bilateral trade target of $70 billion by 2015,” Sharma said while inaugurating the India Show at the Millennium Hall in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The minister said that ever since the first India-Africa Forum summit in 2008, the trade between them has increased tremendously. What was a meagre $3 billion at the turn of the century has crossed the $46 billion mark last year.

The India Show, which would continue till Sunday, is only the second such event in the African continent after the one held in South Africa in August last year in Johannesburg and Durban.

The show comprises of a mega trade exhibition, business seminar and cultural programmes.

Sharma said in his speech that “India has become one of the leading investors in African countries, with investments in joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries touching $33 billion mark.”

The investment covers sectors such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, IT, fertilisers and infrastructure.

Sharma is leading a 15-member high-level Indian chief executive officers delegation to Addis Ababa as part of the build-up to the second Africa-India Forum summit scheduled May 24-25.

The minister emphasised that India will continue to make efforts to expand trade with Africa with special focus on including steps like duty free tariff preference scheme for certain countries in Africa to enable easier imports from them.

The trade exhibition showcases products by more than 80 Indian companies ranging from sectors like manufacturing, finance, IT, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and others.

Large presence of Indian businesses at the exhibition would help African companies get a first hand account of the business opportunities in India and interact with potential partners.

The inauguration was attended by Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the commission of the African Union and Bhagwant S. Bishnoi, Indian ambasssador to Ethiopia .

Mwencha, Abdurahman Sheik Mohamed, minister of trade of Ethiopia, and Mekonen Manyazwal, minister of industry also addressed the session.

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