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Monday, 1 December 2014

India-Africa: Investing In The Future

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) organized a Conference, “India-Africa: Investing In The Future”, on 25th November, 2014 at New Delhi. The Conference was attended by the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and diplomats from 20 African Missions situated in New Delhi. Other delegation were Government Officials and top executives from the Indian Companies having interest in Africa.

In the Inaugural Session of the Conference the key Speakers were: H. E. Ms. Gennet Zewide, Dean of African Missions in India and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Shri. D S Dhesi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India; Ambassador V.B. Soni, Chairman, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance; Mr. Richard Fenning, Global CEO, Control Risks ; Mr. Harsh Shrivastava, Senior Vice President & Head-Corporate Affairs, SREI International Finance Ltd.; Ms. Preeti Sinha, Senior President and Global Convenor, Yes Institute, Yes Bank and Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham.

Ministry of commerce will materialize the PDC (Project Development Company) by the end of this year to identify projects and take them up in a fast-track manner with active involvement of the governments of those countries, said D.S. Dheshi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce.

He further added, “The proposal is to set up a PDC (Project Development Company) with leading financial institutions of India led by EXIM bank, IL&FS and State Bank of India (SBI), in the partnership with the African Development Bank (ADB), which will identify projects and take them up in a fast track manner with the active involvement of the government of those countries and business entities of Indian sites”
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H.E. Ms Gennet Zewide, Dean of African Mission in India and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia said, “there is an unexplored investment opportunity in Africa, it has 50% of the world’s gold, 90% of the cobalt, 40% of the world’s potential hydroelectric power, 65% of the manganese, and millions of acres of untilled farmland, as well as other natural resources. The continent also has large reserves of oil. However, the main driving force for the development and growth are not these resources but African government’s investment in educating its large pool of young workforce, investing in infrastructure and the health of its people”.

Ms. Zewide further said, Africa’s investment and business appeal is an opportunity for prospective business in India and elsewhere. Africa took a significant political and policy measure by establishing regional markets such as COMESA, SADC and ECOWAS etc. which foster trade and investment relation amongst member countries by removing tariff and other trade barriers.

In order to grow further and realize our vision of reaching the level of a middle income economy as of 2020-23, a five year growth and transformation plan has been formulated in which agriculture, agro processing and manufacturing sector such as textile, leather and chemical industries are given priority.

In order, to facilitate investment in the manufacturing sector the government is also setting up a industrial zone, added Ms Gennet Zewide.

Ambassador V.B. Soni, Chairman, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance said, on the trade front from a level of $ 25billion in 2005- 06, India’s bilateral trade with Africa increased to US $ 67 billion in 2011- 12. This is likely to touch to $100 billion mark in the next few years.

Other speakers also shared with the Indian businesses the opportunities present in Africa. The first session also had an Interaction Round which gave the opportunity to the Indian investors to share their queries and issues, which were addressed by the panel. This address is followed by delivering “Vote of Thanks” by Shri. D S Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham in which he thanked all the speakers on the dais to make this Conference a successful program by giving their valuable inputs.

During the next session “Africa: Explore the Unexplored”, the Ambassadors/High Commissioners and other diplomats from the African Missions gave the presentations/ speeches and shown some trade promotional videos of their respective countries. The theme of the session was to highlight the investment opportunities exist in their countries.

After the presentations and networking lunch there were B2B meetings, for which ASSOCHAM had allocated a separate country table for every African country present in the conference, wherein the investors met the African country officials to discuss the business prospects and solved their queries.

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