Investment and capacity building co-operation and agreements are needed along with trade agreements at bilateral and multilateral levels to strengthen unity between India and Africa which is dependent on food, energy security and mutual developmental prosperity – apex industry body The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) opined on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four-nation Africa tour.
D.S. Rawat, secretary-general of ASSOCHAM, suggested: “No fruitful trade relationship with African nations can be built without supplementing and complementing it with an equally organic and trustworthy investment relationship where capital can flow into key African development sectors seamlessly and only then mutual economic benefit can be derived.”
“As both India and Africa aim to increase bilateral trade fivefold to $500 billion by 2020, it will be critical for governments, industry and other key stakeholders to focus on greater market access, availability of trade finance and simplification of bilateral business processes and tax regime,” said Rawat.
Rawat also suggested: “Pharmaceuticals, capital goods, automobiles and spare parts are some sectors offering new trade opportunities that need focus to enhance trade relations between the two regions. Consumer goods, wholesale and retail, telecom, construction, housing, financial and banking services are the sectors where India can engage itself with African nations at various levels. Indian hospitals, medical professionals together with Indian medicines can provide the basis for an affordable treatment in Africa which would go a long way in strengthening its relations with India.”
“Social insurance services are also one option as its advantages include promoting equity, solidarity and affordability,” he further added.
Confidence and trust-building measures like establishing skill development institutes and research facilities, more direct business-to-business communications, workshops and seminars, ought to be further increased with immediate effect – to create a suitable atmosphere for dialogue between India and Africa.