India, 14 African nations vow to strengthen trade

Economic engagement: Regional treaty soon

Expressing confidence that the India-Africa trade would reach $70 billion by 2015 from $46 billion, a joint statement of African Union Commission (AUC) and India said the economic ties can be improved by an agreement between New Delhi and African regional Economic Communities.

As many as 14 African countries were represented at the meeting also attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma. In the run-up to the India-Africa Forum Summit next week to be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it said, “We are confident that the Summit would go a long way in strengthening economic ties between the two sides”.

Besides, the increasing mutual trade, the India- Africa investment reached $90 billion in 2010. Though Africa was late to catch up, the continent has been growing in the recent few years by a fast pace. Despite the global woes, Africa’s economy expanded by 4.7 per cent in 2010 and is expected to grow by over 5 per cent in the coming years, giving opportunities to India. Eyeing rich natural resources in the continent along with the growing economy, leading Indian business houses are exploring business possibilities in Africa.

The AUC includes Ethiopia, Chad, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Senegal.

India to invest in Ethiopia

India has offered to invest $4.78 billion in various projects in Ethiopia over the next few years, of which nearly $1 billion is already on ground or in the pipeline, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Saturday.

India is the largest foreign investor in Ethiopia with approved investment of $4.78 billion, Sharma said after meeting Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi here.

The minister, who is on a four-day official visit to Ethiopia, emphasised the need for strengthening business and economic ties between the two countries.

During the meeting, the ministers explored ways to establish trade and investment linkages between India and Africa through, among other things, the conclusion of trade cooperation agreements between India and African Regional Economic Communities, according to a joint statement released after the trade ministers’ meeting.

The ministers also reviewed the progress of Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organisations. The two sides expressed their commitment for early conclusion of the negotiations.  

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