CII-Exim Bank conclave: Goyal calls for deepening trade ties with Africa


Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday called for expansion and diversification of India-Africa economic relations and inclusion of emerging areas, such as solar energy, start-ups, and digital infrastructure for partnership.

Goyal identified four major focus areas for the India-Africa partnership: solar power, military exchanges in the context of the security of the Indian Ocean, physical and digital infrastructure, health care, pharma and vaccines, and start-up ecosystem.

The trade between India and African countries has been balanced with exports of trade and services of about $40 billion and imports of $49 billion, Goyal said at the inauguration of 17th CII-Exim Bank conclave here.

“India gives 27 less-developed countries from Africa the benefit of duty free tariff preference… It’s time we also looked at further deepening and strengthening the trade partnership and possibly looked at giving greater trading access to both the African continent and to India so that we can expand this trade in a much faster and greater way,” the minister said.

He said both the countries were blessed with significant amounts of sunlight and solar power could be one area of engagement between Africa and India. “I also believe our military exchanges in the Indian Ocean, defence trade, manufacturing in the defence sector can also lead to greater engagement between Africa and India,” he said.

He said India was ready to help African nations in areas of physical and digital infrastructure, whether it was information technology, setting up new infrastructure projects in the region, health care and helping them manufacture vaccines.

India Exim Bank’s study titled “Building a Resilient Africa: Enhanced Role of India” was also during the conclave.

According to the study, there is a huge trade complementarity between India and Africa. India’s total trade with Africa stood at $82.5 billion in 2021, recording the highest level witnessed by both regions.

Harsha Bangari, managing director of India Exim Bank, said bridging gaps in trade finance could unlock the latent export potential of India and Africa and could increase the share in global export participation of both regions.

Bangari said India needs to be dynamic in its engagements in Africa and address the changing needs of the Continent, while emphasising the huge opportunity African Continental Free Trade Area agreement presents for India.

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