Africa has been a top priority for India’s Foreign Economic Policy

No. PR- 140 November 19, 2020 New Delhi Africa has been a top priority for India’s Foreign Economic Policy India has friendly relations with all countries of West Africa and, there has been a rise in the bilateral trade relations in the past few years. In 2019-20 the trade between India and Africa as a whole stood at US$ 66.7 billion with an immense potential to expand further deliberated, Dr. Srikar K Reddy, Joint Secretary, FT-Africa, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India during the India- West Africa Summit and BSM 2020’s panel session on Opportunities on Bilateral Economic and Business Cooperation with Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Gambia and Togo organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Dr. Srikar K Reddy mentioned that under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Africa has been a top priority for India’s foreign economic policy and, there has been a qualitative shift in the long-standing ties. To enhancing diplomatic engagement, the government has decided to open a lot of new missions in Africa. He further mentioned that India has provided pharma assistance to many countries in Africa. India is also providing debt service waivers to many partner countries in Africa. India’s top export to West Africa includes cereals and cereals preparations, medicals, pharmaceutical products, automobiles, petroleum products, and many more. Top commodities imported by India from West Africa include petroleum and petroleum products, gold, natural and manufactured gas, vegetables, and fruits. Dr. Reddy emphasized that there is a need for further deepening and strengthening of trade ties between India- West Africa to diversify and expand of trade basket. There is trade potential in areas such as pharmaceutical, healthcare products, medical devices, and the engineering sector. India has made significant investments in Africa in the sectors of banking, oil, gas, mining, and textiles creating employment opportunities for the masses. H.E. Mr. Y. K. Sailas Thangal, Ambassador, Embassy of India, Cote d’Ivoire deliberated that Africa stands out with great opportunity to revive the world economy it has natural resources, youth, population, diverse economy, political structure, and free trade agreement. H.E. Mr. Y. K. Sailas Thangal mentioned that Indian companies have the experience, technology, and capital to unlock Africa's opportunities and great value for the government as well as the investing companies. These investments will play a pivotal role in the creation of a job, livelihood in Africa during and post the pandemic. We need to expand our bilateral cooperation in areas like agriculture, agro-processing, healthcare, pharma, automobiles, engineering goods, ICT, and many more. H.E. Mr. G V Srinivas, Ambassador, Embassy of India, Senegal (Concurrently Accredited to the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Cabo Verde) in his presentation on opportunities in Bilateral Economic and Business Cooperation in Senegal, Gambia, guinea Bissau and Cabo Verde discussed the future business and economic development India and the countries he represents in West Africa. He said that India is well placed to leverage the great business opportunities in West Africa for win-win cooperation & development. He further mentioned that Senegal and Gambia can expand themselves in the trade ties in the areas of food processing, digital technology, engineering, automobile parts, agriculture machinery, dairy, education, textile, and many more. Mr. T V Ganesan, Head of Commercial Wing, High Commission of India, Ghana mentioned that India is well situated in the lifeline of Ghana and, India can play a role in the supply of raw material. He discussed the impact of the pandemic in India and the rapid measures undertaken by the Indian Government in mitigating its impact on the economy and humanity. He also discussed the business and trade opportunities available in Ghana in different verticals and how India can be benefitted from the same. He also mentioned that India can play a pivotal role in the supply of raw materials as well as imparting knowledge in the medical field. Mr. Praveen Chandra Kala, Charge d’Affiars, Embassy of India, Togo informed that Embassy of India in Togo was recently opened and conveyed that he and his colleagues will be available to help out the Indian industries that are planning to explore the markets in Togo. Dr. Vineet Arora, Director, Intellio Healthcare Pvt Ltd, India gave an insight about West African markets and trade figures. He said the West African region has emerged as an important partner for India, both as an export market and as an import source. He also stressed there exists a huge synergy in SME development. Indian SMEs, who have got wide exposure and expertise in this regard, has a lot to offer to the immense need for such development in Africa. Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his presidential address deliberated about the Indian economic partnership with West African countries that have been vibrant based on trade investment, technology transfers, knowledge sharing, and skill development. India has been one of the largest trading partners in the West African continent. Mr. Aggarwal mentioned that West Africa always remains the heart of Africa's Transformation. Domestic factors including consumption, natural resources, and primary commodities remain the major growth drivers in the region. There has been a rise in trade relations of India-West Africa in the past few years and, now it’s time to accelerate it further for greater opportunities. Our interest lies in enhancing the trade and removing all the difficulties that come while in trade and business between the countries. Mr. Vivek Aggarwla, Chair, International Affairs Committee for Africa, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry while giving the formal vote of thanks mentioned that countries of West Africa and India share a symbiotic relationship and, India should make diligent investments to tap into the unexplored potential of the African continent. The session was also attended by Mr. Saket Dalmia, Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was moderated by Mr. Niraj, Secretary, International Affair, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The session was attended by many industry stalwarts from the West African region. Ends Media Division PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry