More than 31 ministers from 21 African countries and business delegates from 37 countries will participate in the three-day 14th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnerships beginning here on March 17.
The event being organised by Ministry of Commerce and Industry in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and EXIM Bank of India will mark deepening of India-Africa economic and business ties. It will pave the way for a whole range of cross-border project partnerships, said an official statement issued by the government on Friday.
Echoing key areas identified for conclave, the discussion will revolve around two key themes: digital infrastructure and digital skills.
Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Guinea’s Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki will be present at the conclave along with Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary and Secretary at the Department of Commerce Anup Wadhawan.
The India-Africa partnership assumes critical importance for the global economy that is facing a slowdown, moderating trade and investment flows, growing trade protectionism and tightening financing conditions.
Africa’s economic growth in 2018 will continue in 2019 in sub-Saharan Africa, averaging 3.6 per cent over the next two years, as per World Bank estimates.
India-Africa bilateral trade volume at 62.66 billion dollars during 2017-18 was about 22 per cent higher compared to the previous year.
The new dynamism of African economies has contributed to the region emerging as one of the highly attractive global investment destinations.
While Africa’s acute physical infrastructure financing deficit estimated at about 170 billion dollars has created private investment opportunities in roads, highways, ports and airports, railroads, power generation, transmission and distribution, among other segments, the accelerated domestic economic growth has also increased demand for manufactured goods and services.
Over the years, Indian companies have invested in Africa across diverse sectors like agriculture, agro-processing, oil, gas, mining, minerals, education, healthcare, drugs and pharmaceuticals.
The joint CII-EIF (Enhanced Integrated Framework) session during the conclave will focus on how to seize new opportunities, address key challenges and boost cooperation between Indian businesses and African least developed countries to benefit more fully from inclusive economic development.
Over the last two decades, India has directed focused attention on capacity building initiatives supporting African countries while providing more than one billion dollars in technical assistance and training to personnel under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
India has committed 7.5 billion dollars to Africa’s infrastructure development, covering 137 projects in more than 40 countries. India has also offered duty-free market access to Africa’s least developed countries.
Besides, Exim Bank of India has extended concessional lines of credit for critical projects in Africa.
India has a heavy dependence on fossil fuel imports to meet its burgeoning energy demand. Africa has become a major source of crude oil imports for India, with Nigeria and Angola being the two main geographical sources.
At the same time, Indian energy majors are playing an instrumental role in large oil and gas exploration and production projects in Africa.