FICCI - Trade with Africa can reach US$ 50 billion

April 07, 2008 - India

The buoyant trade between India and Africa, reckoned at US$ 25 billion in 2006-07, can be doubled to US$ 50 billion in five years if the Government zeros in on a 9-point package of measures.

The FICCI Survey saw the participation from 41 companies many of whom are actively engaged in business with Africa. The participating companies present the entire gamut of industries ranging from automobiles, food processing, ceramics, oil and gas, infrastructure, agri-bio products, farm equipment and machinery, sanitary-ware, electrical equipment and machinery, textiles, apparel and gems and jewellery.

The measures suggested are:

-Government should strengthen the trade promotion cell and economic sections in the High Commissions in different African countries and provide more, better and updated commercial intelligence.
-India should look at entering into preferential trade arrangements with more and more African countries and regions particularly SADC, COMESA and ECOWAS.
-Government should further enhance the credit lines extended to African countries as this would only lead to more and more exports from the India.
-There should be more and more interactions between the Indian and the African business communities.
-Companies have laid a lot of emphasis on having more sector specific business meets
-Exports to Africa could be incentivised.
-An ‘Africa Promotion Council’ should be set in a PPP framework. Such a council should further have sub-councils focusing on each of the five regions in the African continent.

-FICCI and EXIM bank should organize seminars to make companies aware of the countries where loans on soft terms have not been utilized and what can be done to promote these countries.
-Individual country reports should be prepared outlining the current requirements of each country and the future demand trends.

Trade data for India and Africa shows that bilateral trade which stood at US$ 6.5 billion in the year 2002-03 increased to US$ 25 billion in 2006-07 – an increase of about 285% in just four years.

The FICCI Survey reveals certain products from India such as Textiles, compact cars, gems & Jewellery, agriculture machinery and farm implements, tractors, pumping systems are widely accepted across countries in the African region.

Given such optimism in trade with African nations, it is felt that doubling of exports to Africa to US$ 50 billion by 2012 is a distinct possibility.

Participants from the gems and jewellery sector mentioned that the twin combination of improving buying capacity and affinity towards gold and silver jewellery amongst people from the African region has improved prospects for jewellery exports from India.