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Need to focus on making India resilient for business opportunities in Africa: Secretary (ER), MEA

Aug 28, 2020

NEW DELHI, 28 August 2020: Mr Rahul Chhabra, Secretary, Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India, today said that though India-Africa trade has multiplied and diversified in the last 16 years, but while working towards making Africa resilient for Indian businesses, we must first focus on making India resilient for business opportunities in Africa. 


Speaking at the webinar on Making Africa Resilient for Indian Business, organized by FICCI, Mr Chhabra said, �The Free Trade Agreement has been negotiated  within Africa and its just a matter of time for the same to be implemented and will be a game-changerIt will open great opportunities for Indian businesses if they establish themselves there.� 


He also spoke about Africa and the role India could play by working on the entire business value chain, covering aspects like capacity building, training and aligning with the strategies the industry is chalking out, for enhancing India's presence in Africa. 


Mr Chhabra further mentioned that the Prime Minister's 10 guiding principles for deepening India's engagement with Africa will help in its economic growth and will continue to intensify and deepen India's engagement with the African continent. ï¿½India's partnership with Africa is based on a model of cooperation, which is responsive to the needs of African countries and India is ranked as the third-largest export destination in Africa�, he said. 


He further expressed that innovation, talent and resilience are the keys to success in Africa and Indians need to also focus on the man-management skills while doing business in Africa. 


Mr Rajya Vardhan Kanoria, Past President, FICCI and Chairman & Managing Director, Kanoria Chemicals & Industries Ltd, said, �Over the last 20 years, Africa has grown to be an interesting prospect for emerging market investors. Africa is increasingly being seen as the final frontier.� He further added that Africa's innovative and productive potential has already attracted substantial foreign investment in sectors like agriculture, education, infrastructure, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and specialty chemicals. �Though the current COVID crisis may weaken investment in the short run, the continent will attract higher investment inflows in the longer run,� Mr Kanoria said. 


Speaking on India's growing economic engagement with Africa, he said that India's partnership with Africa is demand-driven, free of conditionalities and responsive to the needs of the African countries. 


Mr David Rasquinha, Managing Director, EXIM Bank of India, said, �Indian exporters, need to increasingly tap African countries that have an almost unlimited market. Though our financing emphasis is on infrastructure, we want to focus on capacity building and use capital markets for development-oriented and employment-oriented projects in Africa.� He further stressed that a public-private partnership between private and government banks will go a long way in strengthening the economic relationship between India and Africa. 


Mr Anupam Mishra, Director, WAPCOS & Chair, FICCI Africa Council, said expensive buyer's credit, limited presence of Indian banks and lack of Forex availability amongst African buyers were few of the challenges that the Indian businesses are facing in Africa, hence, there is a need to create a 'Fund' that will be an institutional mechanism to make the funding available to the Indian companies for projects and trade 


Mr Rajiv Wahi, Chief Executive International Business, Escorts Agri Machinery & Co-Chair, FICCI Africa Council, said that establishing an Escrow Mechanism with African nations and the development of the GLOBIZ trade portal by FICCI will  be a huge factor towards enhancing our exports to Africa.


The webinar was attended by Head of Indian Missions, and Head of African Mission and prominent Industry Members.