Indian businesses in Africa suggest steps to increase trade, investment

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INDIAN businesses in Africa have urged the government in New Delhi to take steps such as improving line of credit system, setting up of banks and liberalise visa policies to increase trade and investment with Africa, the commerce ministry said Tuesday.

These issues were highlighted by the Indian business community in Africa during an interaction organised by the ministry and Indian High Commissions and embassies of eleven African countries over Digital Video Conference (DVC) on May 3 and 6.

It was attended by over 400 members of Indian business community in 11 African countries — Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Madagascar.

The other issues raised by them include starting direct flights between the India and African countries; exploring possibility of rupee trade to address the issue of shortage of dollars; creation of common database of buyer-suppliers; development of a robust trade dispute settlement mechanism; and establishment of country chapters of Ficci or CII in Africa.

‘Department of Commerce welcomed the suggestions and assured them that these suggestions will be shared with relevant stakeholders /departments in order to incorporate the suggestions in the India-Africa strategy for trade promotion,’ it said in a statement.

Senior officers from the department of commerce and ministry of external affairs were present during the interactions.

India’s total trade with African during 2017-18 was $62.69bn.

‘Today, African countries present immense opportunities for India with the world’s largest land mass, 54 countries, a population growing to be almost equivalent to that of India, huge mineral resources, oil wealth, a youthful population, falling poverty levels and increasing consumption patterns,’ the ministry said.

As per the latest available estimates, the current strength of the Indian Diaspora  in Africa is 2.8 million of which 2.5 million are People of Indian Origin (PIOs), it added.

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