As the CII Exim Bank Africa conclave begins on Sunday,The Indian Express does a quick check with Chandrajit Banerjee,Director General of the trade chamber on whether the discussion is still on the potential than actual investments.
How far has Indian investments progressed in Africa in,say,the past 10 years?
Indias economic relations with the African continent have been growing exponentially,recording a twenty-fold trade surge in the last decade to $70 billion in 2011-12. Indian investments too have picked up greatly,with a total investment commitment of about $50 billion as Indian companies are looking at African markets across sectors such as consumer goods,telecom,automotives,pharma,etc. The trade target is now $90 billion for 2015,which we should reach,I feel.
And which are the key sectors?
Among the projects taken up so far,it is mainly agriculture,transportation,power and energy. I must add the Indian government has made available Lines of Credit amounting to about $5.2 billion to African nations at concessional terms over the last decade to make some of these possible. Now we are looking at additional investments in consumer durables,mining,finance and tourism as the new sectors for investments. The idea is to offer affordable,adaptable and tailored solutions that best match the needs of African nations by adding value to their rich natural and human resources.
Also,if you look at the pipeline of projects the ones on offer are very encouraging and offer huge potential to Indian industry. So far,we have a pipeline of almost 480 projects worth close to $70 billion. We are particularly happy that infrastructure projects for construction,cement,etc add up to over $34 billion,while power and energy projects are valued at $20 billion. Other projects of high value include transport,agriculture,IT and mining.
So what do you aim to achieve from this
The Conclave series was started in 2005 as a platform for bringing together potential projects in Africa with investors and builders in India. The 9th edition which is the present one will be the largest so far. CII has also organised 13 regional conclaves in various regions of Africa over the years,and we are committed to forging closer connectivity of Indian and African industry. Other than president Museveni of Uganda,vice presidents of three countries,and prime ministers of four countries we expect a hundred ministers and governors to attend,along with about 600 delegates and journalists from Africa and a similar number from India. Such high participation basically affirms the strong mutual interest of both sides in expanding economic cooperation.