In a move to strengthen trade ties with Africa, India on Monday said it will double its trade with West African countries to $40 billion by 2015. Commerce, Industry and Textiles minister Anand Sharma who is here with a large business delegation, said, ?Currently the trade between India and West Africa is $20 billion. I would ask chambers and industry to work towards taking this number to $ 40 billion by 2015.?
Interestingly, in the last few years, several Indian companies have expanded their business geographies in Africa. Firms like Bharti, Tatas, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, etc, have added Africa as an emerging continent in their portfolio.
Keeping in view the business interests of corporate India and huge untapped opportunity that Africa promises, New Delhi aims to enhance bilateral trade with the entire African continent to $90 billion by 2015 from the current $50 billion. This strategy is especially relevant in the context of the tepid demand from the US and Europe, traditionally India’s largest export markets.
?The investments by India Inc have been substantial in West Africa and it is (likely to) grow,? said Sharma.
The priority sectors in which India will be exploring its opportunities in Africa include, pharmaceuticals and health care, mining and minerals, chemicals, automobiles, infrastructure and construction, power, energy, education, engineering, steel and textiles, etc.
Meanwhile, Ghana committed to supply gas for the proposed urea plant of state-owned Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF) here. A preliminary MoU for setting up a JV gas based fertiliser plant in Ghana with an investment of over $1 billion has already been signed in 2010. The project is expected to produce one million tons of urea. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and other authorities have confirmed availability of gas for the proposed fertilizer plant by 2016 since Ghana is currently constructing the gas pipeline which will cater to the plan.
Already a technical team comprising engineers from RCF and consultants from Project and Development India Limited PDIL visited Ghana in August 2010 to assess the feasibility of the project. After which Ghanaian delegation led by the Ghanaian Minister of Food and Agriculture visited India in March 2011. Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) has also indicated that it would take six months to fix the price of gas for the project. The project would be rendered uneconomical if the gas price is fixed too high.