Kamal Nath for deeper, closer India-Africa ties

March 19th, 2008 - 11:05 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Mar.19 (ANI): Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath today stressed on the need for India to have a deeper and closer engagement with Africa, saying that New Delhi is eager to work with Africa for greater mutual prosperity.
Addressing the fourth CII-EXIM Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership 2008, here, Nath described agriculture and food processing as the key sectors for bilateral and regional cooperation, as both sides are prone to food shortages, lack of diversification in crops, and low agricultural productivity.
Nath further said that Indias strategic global engagements depend much on its strong relations with Africa, and added that in this context, New Delhi would be hosting the first India-Africa Summit meeting on April 8 this year.
He further stated that the Indian Government also desired to forge a robust, effective and mutually beneficial economic relationship with Africa and hoped that the the three-day conclave would set the stage for a bilateral and multilateral trade agreements between India and countries as well as regional blocks like SACU, COMESA, SADC, EAC in Africa.
Indias exports to Africa during 2006-07 stood at 8.4 billion dollars, while imports aggregated 11.4 billion dollars, having almost doubled since previous year. Exports to Africa are regionally diversified with East, Southern and West Africa accounting for 2.5-3 billion dollars each.
The Commerce Minister said that India needs to expand and diversify the import basket from the continent.
Project partnership is a key in this effort. It will help strengthen local skill resources, expand infrastructure availability and lay the foundation for strong and sustainable economic cooperation between India and Africa. Our mutual goals of poverty alleviation, human development and economic growth can be addressed in part through project partnerships, Nath said.
The conclave, which concludes on March 21, is being attended by the Ministers from Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faszo, Chad, Comoros, Cote DIvore, D.R. Congo, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Nath had a bilateral meeting with Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Vice President of the Republic Ghana and discussed various matters pertaining to the bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Joe Baidoe Ansah, Minister of Trade and Industry of Ghana was also present at the discussions.
In addition, Nath had bilateral meetings with Botswana Minister of Trade and Industry Daniel Neo Moroka; Ivohasina Razafimahefa, Minister of Economy, Commerce and Industry of Madagascar; and Felix C. Mutati, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Zambia.
The Botswana Minister said that the quantity of trade between India and Botswana was not very significant, there has been steady growth in services sector. Exports from Botswana during 2005-06 and 2006-07 were 10.78 million dollars and 10.87 million dollars respectively and engineering goods and textiles are the main products, he said. Tanzanian Vice-President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein delivered a special address.
The conclave was also attended by senior officials of the Commerce and Industry Ministry, representatives from Exim Bank of India, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). (ANI)

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