India, Africa to discuss food security, trade matters

Written by PTI | Johannesburg | Updated: Sep 29 2013, 21:09pm hrs
Anand SharmaAnand Sharma
Food security, steps for enhancing trade and increasing cooperation in sectors such as infrastructure are the major issues over which India and Africa will deliberate upon during a meeting on Tuesday here.

From India, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma will attend the third India-Africa Trade Ministers meeting and India-Africa Business Council (IABC) meeting.

Besides African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Diamini-Zuma and South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, trade ministers and officials from nations like Kenya, Malawi and Chad would participate in the day-long meeting.

Indian and African businessmen from sectors like telecommunications, healthcare and aviation would also discuss various issues related with increasing investments between the two regions. Bharti group Chairman Sunil Mittal will co-chair the IABC meeting and Dangote Group Chairman & President Aliko Dangote will co-chair from Africa side.

Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal, Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej, Apollo Hospital Executive Director Sangita Reddy and Sun Group CEO Vikramjit Singh Sahney would also attend the meeting.

Sharma and leaders of African nations would discuss ways to reinvigorate the WTO negotiations in the Bali Ministerial Conference, an official said.

"The trade ministers shall exchange views on the ongoing negotiations, the issues on the agenda of the Ministerial Conference and how to safeguard the interests of developing nations," the official said.

The official said that it is important that this Ministerial Meeting should have a successful outcome as a balanced Bali package will ensure the continued credibility of WTO as an institution.

"For countries of Asia and Africa, food security is crucial. Currently, there is very little in the existing trade rules to squarely address the issue. Updation of rules of Agreement on Agriculture would greatly help in carrying out these operations without defaulting on international commitments," the official added.

Both the sides would discuss ways to increase cooperation in areas such as education, science & technology, agriculture, health and infrastructure.

To enhance trade, India would ask to fast track the process on the proposed free trade pact with the 19-nation Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

India-Africa trade has crossed USD 70 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 100 billion by 2015.