India revises trade target with Africa to $70 billion by 2015?
With an eye on China’s deep forays into the strategic and economic space of Africa, India has intensified its engagement with the continent that has 54 countries and, therefore, as many votes in the United Nations where India is aspiring for the permanent membership of the Security Council. As a demonstration of its pro-active engagement with Africa, India has revised its trade target with the continent to US $ 90 billion by 2015, up from the previously fixed target of $ 70 billion.
Significantly, the India-Africa Business Council met in New Delhi on March 17 for the first time. The day also witnessed the second meeting of the India-Africa Trade Ministers, during which the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme in Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda was also launched. The Technical Assistance Programme in the cotton sector is an initiative of the Government of India under the umbrella of the ‘India-Africa Forum Summit’ towards helping the above-mentioned cotton growing countries of Africa to build capacity, technical expertise and thereby competitiveness in the field.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma remarked thus after the meeting: “Our leaders had set a target of US$ 70 billion by 2015 but we can note with satisfaction that last year we crossed US$ 60 billion. A 20-fold growth within a decade is indeed an achievement worth applauding. I propose that given the current growth rate, we may agree to revise the trade target to US$ 90 billion by 2015.”
India has set up a number of Pan-African Institutions under the umbrella of the ‘India-Africa Forum Summit’ for capacity building and human resource development across many areas. These include India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade, India-Africa Diamond Institute, India-Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India-Africa Institute of Information Technology, India-Africa Food Processing Cluster, India-Africa Integrated Textile Cluster, India-Africa Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, India-Africa University for Life and Earth Sciences, India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development, and India-Africa Civil Aviation Academy. (FOC)?