Indian investments in Africa to increase because of unified market under AfCFTA: Goyal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 23, 2020 Published on September 23, 2020

Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal

India to work more closely with African free trade area in the near future, the minister said

India will look to work more closely with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which includes 54 African countries merged into a single market, in the near future, Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said.

Speaking at the 15th CII-EXIM Bank Digital Conclave on India Africa Project partnership on Wednesday, the minister talked about India’s comprehensive partnership arrangements with countries across the world, including ongoing negotiations with Mauritius and the South Africa Customs Union, and said in the near future it will be happy to work more closely with the AfCTA also.

Indian investment in Africa is also likely to see an increase because of the AfCTA and the resulting unified market, the Minister said. “Indian investors can benefit in Africa by accessing the unified market created by AfCTA and also by creating supply chains between India and Africa. Indian investors in Africa, in particular the 33 LDCs, can benefit by exporting to India at zero duty under India’s unilateral tariff preference schemes, which provide preferential market access on over 98 per cent of India’s total tariff lines,” the Minister said.

The African Union has reportedly announced that the first commercial deal of AfCFTA will take off on January 1, 2021.

On the partnership demonstrated between India and Africa during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Goyal said India had acted as a trusted partner by supplying essential medicines to African countries and would continue to do so in the future while working together to rebuild economies.

Goyal added that India and Africa could mutually benefit through establishment of India-Africa value chains in several areas such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, agro processing and ICT. “This will boost the trade and investment partnership between India and Africa,” he said.

India’s bilateral trade has seen a -fold increase in the last two decades from $7 billion to $66 billion and has tremendous potential for growth in the years to come, the Minister said. India is the fifth largest investor in the African continent with a cumulative investment of $54 billion in the last few years with sizeable investments in oil and gas, mining, banking and textiles which created jobs for local African citizens, Goyal said.

The country will also continue to support Africa through lines of credit in priority areas such as agriculture, irrigation, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, digital technology, solar electrification, power plants, transmission lines, cement plants and technology parks, he said.

The conclave was attended by a number of Ministers from several African countries

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Published on September 23, 2020
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