Vibrant Gujarat: Heads of state arrive for the annual summit; Trade with Africa to be the focus

By: | Published: January 17, 2019 7:37 PM

These African countries together account for about 40 per cent of India’s total imports from Africa.

There will also be the first meeting of the Uzbekistan-India Business council on the sidelines of the summit.

With a sharp focus on all round economic development for a ‘New India’, the 9th Vibrant Gujarat 2019 Summit is expected to provide a forum for discussion on Global, National and State-level agendas.

With the Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev as the chief guest at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be having one-on-one meetings with the heads of five states including Denmark, Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, Malta and Rwanda.

Targeting bilateral trade at $1 billion within two years, Uzbekistan President Mirziyoyev leading a high-level delegation of heads of Investment Committee, Trade Committee, Chamber of Commerce, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as more than 60 business owners, CEOs of biggest national and private companies, the Uzbek leader is coming here on his second visit to India.

The visit is expected to reinforce the strategic partnership between the two countries and to be centred on connectivity, investment cooperation, and trade and agro-business. The focus of talks between the two leaders will be Uzbek Indian Free Pharmaceutical Zone in Andijan region of Uzbekistan. There will also be the first meeting of the Uzbekistan-India Business council on the sidelines of the summit.

According to sources, “In addition to the flagship events organized as part of Vibrant Gujarat, the 9th edition of the summit will also witness the launch of a completely new set of forums aimed at diversifying the nature of knowledge sharing at the summit, and intensifying the level of networking between participants.”

A large Africa Pavilion will have more than 25 countries representing the continent of Africa including 2 partner countries – Morocco and South Africa.

India and Africa have had a long-standing relationship that is marked with historic, cultural, economic and political exchanges and cooperation. The recent years have witnessed tremendous increase and deepening of economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation between India and Africa.

India has undertaken various initiatives over the past two decades to augment economic relations between the two regions. The “Focus Africa” programme was launched by the government in 2002 with the objective of strengthening trade ties with the African countries. The programme extends to the entire African continent and the primary objective is to increase interaction by identifying potential areas for bilateral trade and investment.

Total trade between India and Africa increased almost five-fold between 2005-06 and 2015-16, and stood at $ 52 billion in March 2016-17. India’s exports to Africa increased from $ 14 billion in 2007-08 to $ 23 billion in 2016-17, registering an impressive compound annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent.

Indian imports from Africa, on the other hand, increased from $ 20 billion in 2007-08 to $ 28 billion in 2016-17 accounting for 7.5 percent of total Indian imports. Indian imports from Africa grew at a compound annual growth rate of around 4 per cent.

South Africa continues to be the leading export destination for India as of March 2017 with total exports at $3.5 billion accounting for around 15.4 percent of India’s total exports to Africa. India’s other major export partners in 2016-17 include Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania and Nigeria. These regions together account for around 34 per cent of total Indian exports to Africa.

The estimated value of imports from Nigeria to India stood at $ 7.7 billion in March 2017, making it the top import source for India. Nigeria accounts for about 26 per cent of India’s total imports. The other major importing countries from Africa include South Africa, Angola, Ghana and Botswana. These African countries together account for about 40 per cent of India’s total imports from Africa.

Gujarat exports to 51 of the 54 countries of Africa, which amounted to $ 19.6 billion during 2017-18. Total exports to African countries from Gujarat have more than doubled in the last four years and account for approximately 30% of Gujarat’s total export.

According to an official release there will be 15 Partner Countries with Country Pavilions of Canada, France, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, The Netherland, UAE, South Africa, Sweden, Uzbekistan, Czech Republic, Norway, Australia and Morocco.

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