Trade fair in Addis Ababa showcasing India Inc. in Africa

May 23rd, 2011 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Addis Ababa, May 23 (IANS) Over 80 Indian firms are showcasing their products and services at a trade fair organised as a part of the second India-Africa Forum Summit that begins here Tuesday.

The companies are showcasing their products, services, technologies, and processes at the event called India Show held in the Ethiopian capital, often called the political capital of Africa. Addis Ababa is also the seat of the African Union.

Areas of the trade exhibition, being held at the Millennium Hall, include, among others, infrastructure, power, irrigation, floriculture, agri-machinery, ITC, manufacturing, handicrafts, and textiles.

Among the participants is Overseas International Alliance (OIA), which is involved in project development and management with offices in India, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sudan, and Benin. The sectors OIA is engaged in include electricity, agro-based industry solutions, gas distribution, IT, healthcare, and advisory services.

“OIA is involved from conception to installation,” said its CEO, Udayan Mukherjee.

“In Ethiopia, OIA is involved in two sugar factory projects; doubling the capacity of Fincha sugar factory, and building a new one for Tendaho sugar factory,” said Mukherjee.

“This will be the biggest in the world with 26,000 tonnes of cane being crushed per day. And Ethiopia will have a surplus,” he added. Fincha project will be completed soon while Tendaho project is likely to be completed in two years.

OIA is also involved in an electric power transfer and distribution project with the government of Ethiopia covering the areas from Hagere Mariyam to Moyale.

The foundation stone has also been laid for an Eye Care Centre, a charitable project, in the premises of Zewditu Hospital. The Centre will be operated by OIA personnel for 3-4 years before it is transferred to Ethiopia. The Eye Care Centre will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and can accommodate 100,000 patients and 10,000 surgeries per year, according to the CEO.

OIA is engaged in other African countries too - rural electrification in Mozambique and a sugar factory in Sudan, and is targeting others too. It focused on Africa because of the big potential, according to the CEO.

Vibha Seeds, another Indian company, is engaged in crop improvement research and production and marketing of superior quality seeds. It has the largest seed processing facility with 30 select seeds and over 200 products with over 100,000 acres of hybrid seed production. At the moment, Vibha is framing a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Ethiopia to work on 20 select seeds, said Alemayehu Ali.

Vibha is training 1,200 farmers on select seeds production and will be working with small farmers.

“Vibha focuses on Ethiopia because of the good weather, soil, cheap labour, and gap in select seed availability. Select seeds in Ethiopia bring a profit of 400 to 500 percent, attesting to the shortage,” Ali said.

The company has been engaged in making available drip irrigation system tools in Ethiopia for the last six years.

Outside Ethiopia, Vibha is involved in Tanzania, Sudan, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Egypt. It has a select seed processing plant in India which was installed at a cost of $45,000, making it the first in Asia, Ali said.

Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. is engaged in drip irrigation systems and has the largest manufacturing plant in the world in the sector, said Satish Joshi, Manager, Export Marketing.

JIS has businesses worldwide with four manufacturing plants in the US and two in Israel, and also plants in Australia, Spain, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Turkey, Jain said, adding that in Africa, the company is planning to establish one manufacturing plant but the location has not yet been decided.

India and Africa are determined to come together to renew their commitment towards shared goals and a shared vision, an official said.

With India’s huge technical and financial resources, and Africa’s huge raw material and investment potential, they are on the highway of fruitful cooperation, he added.

Indian firms have offered to invest $4.78 billion in various projects in Ethiopia over the next few years.

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