India to Partner with Africa for Buying Minerals and Providing Technology for Mining & Exploration- PTA by December 2011- Anand Sharma
Addresses the Launch of Africa Manual 2011
Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles delivered an inaugural address at the launch of “Africa manual 2011- opportunities unlimited”, here today. Speaking on the occasion the Minister said, “India is keen to partner with countries in Africa not only for buying minerals but also providing technology for mining and exploration and value addition with long-term buy-back commitments”. India is also committed to work with our partners in Africa for addressing the infrastructure deficit. India’s infrastructure investments in Africa are in the range of US $ 500 million annually in the last decade, he added.
Shri Sharma during his address informed that “We are engaged in a dialogue with SACU for concluding a preferential trading agreement and I am confident that we shall be able to do so by December 2011.” We have been given the mandate to start engagement with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and we will be initiating a dialogue with The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for exploring the possibility of free trade agreements with these countries.
The pan-African e-network project is a shining example of the partnership. India has gifted a dedicated satellite linking sub Saharan Africa. This project launched from Addis Ababa and with a hub in Dakar seeks to link major universities of Africa with those in India and hospitals in Africa with super specialty institutes in India 30 countries have already joined this initiative to provide quality tele education and tele medicine. The US $ 125 million Pan African E-network project aims to cover 10,000 students in Africa over 5 year period through 34 learning centers, teaching centers and 15 universities.
The Commerce Minister emphasized that, the bilateral trade has increased 15-fold within a decade from a level of barely US $ 3 billion in 2000 to US $ 46 billion in 2010. Government is determined to achieve a target of US $ 70 billion trade well before 2014. India is a US $ 1.6 trillion economy, home to one of the largest middle class in the world, which is projected to cross 500 million in the coming decade. Shri Sharma noted that, the African continent has witnessed consistent growth in excess of 5% in the last few years and credible projections indicate African GDP to reach US $ 2.6 trillion within this decade. It has received foreign investment of nearly $ 60 billion last year as against just US $ 7 billion in 2002.
Highlighting the importance of agro economy, Shri Sharma commented that, agriculture has remained a high priority for India and partnership with African agriculture sector is already beginning to take shape. Over 80 Indian agricultural companies have invested over US $ 2.5 billion in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique. Another 70 companies have lined up investments for Africa. Indian farmers are providing meaningful employment training and critical knowledge support to the farmers of Africa through various initiatives; huge investments are being made, especially in the fertile East African region.