SA calls for more Africa-India trade
27 May 2011
Speaking at the second Africa-India summit in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe reaffirmed the strategic importance of India's relationship with Africa, while stressing the need for burgeoning trade relations to be pushed to the next level.
"We need to ensure that capacity building is focused on further expansion and leads to increases in trade between and amongst the African countries and India, as well as in investment in infrastructure development," Motlanthe told representatives from India and the 15 African countries that took part in the summit.
Motlanthe commended the commitment of $18-billion worth of projects to Africa by Indian businesses at an Africa-India Business Forum Conclave held early this year, as well as the credit line India offered to Africa during the first Summit in 2008 – commitments made in a harsh economic environment in the aftermath of the global recession.
"We, as African countries, need to ensure that we fully utilise such opportunities to the benefit of our people, especially since the shortage of finance experienced by Africa in this current economic situation depresses investment, deters growth and undermines the ability of our countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals," Motlanthe said.
Currently, the World Bank estimates that Africa needs investment of US$93-billion per year to address its infrastructure gap.
While the Deputy President acknowledged gains made in the agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors, he said there was still a need to explore ways of making more out of the partnership with India in order to stimulate employment creation in various African countries.
Motlanthe proposed that there should be a follow-up mechanism that would ensure monitoring and evaluation of progress made.
"With strict time-frames, this will help member states to remain focused and effectively implement the programmes and projects sponsored by this forum," Motlanthe said.
With Africa still trying to break into India's highly regulated economic market and one of the world's fastest growing economies, Motlanthe was hopeful that gains would be made through partnerships like the Africa-India Forum, IBSA and BRICS.
Working in concert with India, he was also confident that Africa could push for the conclusion of the World Trade Organisation's Doha Round of negotiations, which would ultimately see a more equitable global trade system.
The next Africa-India summit will be held in New Delhi in 2014.