ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH AFRICA MUTUALLY
Date : 15 Dec 2004
Location : New Delhi
Shri E.V.K.S. Elangovan, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, said that the economic cooperation between India and COMESA (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa) countries is mutually beneficial as they share similar social, political and economic structures. He was inaugurating the Indo-COMESA Conference on Economic Cooperation organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, here today. He recalled that both India and most of African countries had historical experiences of colonization and are now to jointly confront the emerging challenges of the new world order. "This mutual interest coupled with close understanding in international fora like the UN and the WTO is the bedrock of Indo-African Economic Cooperation", he said.
India’s trade with the COMESA countries (comprising 19 African states like Angola, Burundi, Mauritius, Seashells, Kenya, Zimbabwe etc.) total US $ 1642 million. India can meet its energy requirements by importing petroleum products and the import of metallurgical goods and alloys with help manufacturing industries. Similarly, the economic cooperation offers opportunities to export engineering goods like agricultural implements and machinery and can offer quality consultancy services to the African nations. India is poised to give COMESA countries appropriate technology, right sized industrial units and management know-how as Indian companies is looking outwards for growth and investment.
Observing that non-tariff barriers still affect bilateral trade, he urged the Indian companies to strengthen distribution networks in COMESA countries for reaping the full benefits of trade. Noting that Africa is still an unchartered territory for Indian business, Shri Elangovan said that the consolidation of Indo-COMESA economic cooperation at the bilateral and the multilateral level can usher in a new era of South-South cooperation. The Department of Commerce has launched a "Focus: Africa" programme to give an impetus to the Indo-African trade by identifying areas of synergy and by increasing the levels of interaction.