EEPC plans multi-product delegation to Africa in Oct

Our Bureau

Kolkata, July 28

India, in a joint initiative with the African Union, has launched the Pan-African e-network project, which will support tele-education, telemedicine, e-commerce, e-governance, infotainment, resource-mapping and meteorological services.

The project, said to be the largest infrastructure project in Africa's history, would put in place a network providing video-conferencing facilities connecting all 53 heads of State/Government in Africa.

Launching a workshop on "India-Africa trade relations: Emerging opportunities", organised by EEPC, along with UTI Bank, here on Friday, Mr R.P. Sehgal, Regional Chairman of the council, said the seamless and integrated satellite, fibre optics and wireless network, to be provided by India, will connect five universities, 51 learning centres, 10 super speciality hospitals and 52 patient-end locations in rural areas spread all over Africa.

Stressing on the need to foster institutional linkages with key investment promotion agencies in the SACU (South African Custom Union) region, Mr Sehgal said wider dissemination of information, an interactive portal for identification of project profiles, partner search and matchmaking and specialised e-learning/training courses were some of the other issues needing urgent attention.

Functions

On the launch of EEPC's new multi-purpose India Engineering centre in Johannesburg, under the Market Access Initiative scheme of the Indian Government, on October 9, 2006, Mr Sehgal said besides offering showroom facility for products display and warehousing, it will also function as a distribution centre and render marketing support to Indian companies.

Pointing out that the council was now focusing on Africa in a major way, Mr Sehgal said that EEPC was planning to take a multi-product delegation to South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia between October 5 and 14.

Spelling out the strategies in the immediate term to strengthen "our economic ties with Africa before we lose out to China", Mr Sehgal said the absence of Indian banks in many African countries acted as a major constraint to industry. He urged the Government to put in place the necessary framework and mechanism to provide direction to industry's efforts, which also include signing of FTAs and PTAs, and entrepreneurship development in the SME sector.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 29, 2006)
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