India-Africa Free Trade Agreement within the works

KV Prasad 

Tribune News Service 

New Delhi, August 28

Underscoring India’s dedication in the direction of development in relations with Africa, New Delhi is on the verge of arriving at a Free Trade Agreement with the continent which might additionally open up the massive marketplace for companies. 

Characterising the proposed pact as a “game changer”,  Rahul Chhabra, Secretary (Economic Relations) within the Ministry of External Affairs, stated negotiations had been progressing and an enormous alternative may are available in a number of months. 

“Making Africa resilient for Indian business should be followed up by making Indian business resilient for Africa,” he stated whereas addressing a FICCI webinar attended by the members of the Indian and African Diplomatic Corps. 

Stating that India is a pure match to interact in enterprise in a difficult setting and variety in Africa, Chhabra stated 10 guiding rules outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi throughout his go to to Uganda in 2018 remained a precedence.

During the previous few years, India’s deal with Africa led to an unprecedented 34 high-level visits, together with these by the President, Vice President and the Prime Minister.

The Secretary stated India welcomed all international locations within the continent to affix the satellite tv for pc pan-Africa e-VidyaBharti and e-Aarogya initiatives. For occasion, he stated, 14,000 college students enrolled in academic scheme in Ghana inside weeks of  e-VidyaBharti. 

India has opened 9 of the 18 new missions it plans to have in Africa and recommended to the enterprise neighborhood to succeed in out to the Embassy/High Commission with particular points, stated Chhabra.

During a evaluation assembly with African Union, it was famous that India carried out over $ 6.four billion beneath the strains of credit score dedicated/ongoing out of the general $10 billion made on the third India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015.

Having already held three India-Africa Forum Summits, the fourth scheduled this 12 months was postponed to 2021 following the outbreak of the worldwide well being pandemic.  

The bilateral commerce with Africa has been rising at a gradual tempo. From a modest $5 billion in 2001 it stood at $69 billion just lately, recording a 12 per cent year-on-year development.

Among the key challenges is the  stage of engagement by China which in line with knowledge on China-Africa Research Initiative, in 2018 the China-Africa bilateral commerce stood at $185 billion whereas Chinese funding was $5.four billion. 

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