India and Africa are natural partners with historical ties

Jun 16: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal said that India and Africa are natural partners with historical and cultural ties. While delivering the Keynote Address at the 18th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on ‘India-Africa Growth Partnership’ in New Delhi today, the Minister recounted that Mahatma Gandhi first practised principles of Satya and Ahimsa in South Africa and Mr Nelson Mandela took forward this invaluable legacy. 

The Minister mentioned his recent interaction with 15 Ambassadors from the African region which was a step towards strengthening this relationship. He said that the bilateral trade of India with Africa grew by 9.26% in FY 2022-23 reaching almost $100 Billion. Shri Goyal said that the exports and imports were approximately balanced with exports being US$ 51.2 Billion and imports being US$ 46.65 Billion in FY 2022-23. He expressed confidence in achieving the goal of doubling the trade volume to US$ 200 Billion by 2030. The Minister said that the young aspirational population can help achieve this goal.

Shri Piyush Goyal said that 27 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of Africa benefit from the Duty-Free Tariff Preference on a non-reciprocal basis already and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA) can be explored with other African countries as well. 

The Minister stated that the spirit articulated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi over the last 9 years of developing together as equal partners guide the India-Africa relationship. Shri Goyal said that this spirit has solidified the foundation of this partnership and established brotherhood. He quoted the Prime Minister and said that “Africa will be at the top of our priorities. We will continue to intensify and deepen our engagement with Africa. As we have shown, it will be sustained and regular”.

Shri Piyush Goyal said that the India-Africa relationship has the potential to help fulfil the dreams and aspirations of around 1/3rd of the world’s population. He said that both India and Africa are blessed with demographic dividends and with skill development and education of youth, this partnership can drive global progress in this century.

The Minister highlighted how India can be the voice of the Global South and take the voice of the Global South at multilateral forums. Shri Goyal stressed upon creation of a powerful voice of the Global South to influence the geopolitics of the world ensuring equitable and inclusive growth. Shri Piyush Goyal mentioned that India is a friend in need and a friend in deed for Africa. He said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, India provided support for her African brothers and sisters in the form of medicines, vaccines and other equipment in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. 

Shri Goyal stressed collaboration between India and Africa in the field of renewable energy to make the dream of “One World, One Grid” come true. He said that India and Africa are uniquely poised to become the leaders in the production of renewable energy especially solar energy with interconnected grids through overland and underwater transmission lines. The Minister said that this potential of affordable energy for all throughout the day must be leveraged effectively and praised the participation of more than 20 African countries in the International Solar Alliance (ISA). 

The Minister said that India strongly believes that Africa’s rise globally is an absolute necessity in present times and is working together in a fast-track manner to achieve this ambition. He said that India’s Startup Revolution and Digital Public Infrastructure like Unified Payment Interface (UPI), CoWIN, One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC), and Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) have been helpful in enhancing the Ease of Doing Business and ease of living and can be replicated successfully for the benefit of Africa. Shri Goyal also suggested exploring further cooperation in the field of logistics like roadways, railways and ports and a diverse, robust and resilient supply chain between Africa and India. 

Shri Goyal said that both India and Africa shared the values of Equality and Liberty. He said that the seed of the Conclave was sown in 2005 which has since blossomed and strengthened the relations between India and Africa. The Minister noted the vital role played by the Conclave in bringing together business leaders and policymakers from India and Africa at one platform for further enhancing the partnership.

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