Economy

India, Africa to meet $70b trade target by 2015

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 28, 2011

The Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma



The Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, said on Monday that India and Africa will meet the bilateral trade target of $70 billion by 2015. At present, the bilateral trade is around $45 billion.

“I am sure that we will be able to achieve it (the $70 billion target),” Mr Sharma said during his address at the CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership 2011.

Significantly, in his address, Mr Sharma reiterated India's commitment to ensure supply of life-saving drugs at affordable prices to the poor including those in Africa. He added that India will not allow any efforts that take life-saving medicines out of the reach of the poor.

Mr Sharma pointed out that Indian generics (off-patent) drug companies have played a pivotal role in bringing down the cost of treatment of illnesses such as HIV/AIDS from above $11,000 to less than $400.

However, he said for this to happen legal battles had to be fought and won against a cartel of multi-national companies that was denying the availability of these drugs to people in poor countries, he added.

“We see some signs of that (challenges) again, the campaigns that have been carried out and the backdoor manipulations.....with the new medicines that are coming out that will happen again,” the Minister said, adding that “the intellect of the world must be for the benefit of humankind.”

He also claimed that India has one of the finest Intellectual Property Rights regimes.

The Prime Minister of Mozambique Mr Aires Bonifacio Ali and the Prime Minister of Togo, Mr Gilbert Houngbo, were present on the occasion.

Food, energy security

Pointing out the need for sustained efforts in ensuring food and energy security in Africa and India, he said opportunities existed for cooperation between both sides to tackle these issues.

Trade engagement with Africa is an area of high priority for India, he said, adding the ‘Focus Africa Policy' and ‘Team 9 Initiative' are aimed to enhance the bilateral trade.

Mr Sharma said, “We are currently engaged in negotiations for a preferential trade agreement with Southern Africa Customs Union and are in talks with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Economic Community of West African States. These are integral to our commitment of engaging with all the regional economic communities of Africa to build a network which will facilitate flowering of South-South Trade”.

Published on March 28, 2011

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