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Africa Eyes $100 Billion Bilateral Trade With India

The bilateral trade between India and Africa is expected to touch $100 billion in the next two years, as the continent advances towards industrialisation – according to a top official of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“In 2005-06 the total bilateral trade between India and Africa stood at $11.7 billion, which has reached to $56.9 billion by 2015-16,” Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, told local media.

“Now we expect the bilateral trade to exceed $100 billion in the next two years, helped by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for India-Africa partnership.”

Adesina went on to mention that sectors such as power, pharma, information-communication technology and the services sector will contribute to the doubling of bilateral trade with India.

“AfDB is heavily investing in building infrastructure in Africa to build connectivity between the coastal countries and land-locked countries. We are investing in ports and rails. India has an expertise in this infrastructure.”

Adesina also added that the AfDC would also encourage the investment in the solar sector – through its Energy Inclusion Fund of $500 million to provide finance to the small and medium enterprises in the off-grid power renewable energy sector.

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“That fund [Energy Inclusion Fund] will invest anything between $3-30 million dollars in companies that are doing renewable energy generation anything below 30 megawatt. Africa has the potential to generate 11 terawatt of solar power.”

Set against the current global energy consumption rate of 15 terawatt, the potential of Africa’s solar power industry could be largely beneficial for sustainably dealing with the world’s excessive power use.

The African region alone has set its focus on electrification, with an ambitious target to connect around 130 million people to the power grid.

“Africa can’t develop in the dark. Africa is absolutely tired of being in dark. So that’s why AfDB is investing $12 billion in the electricity sector in next five years and by 2025, we will have invested $34 billion of our money in the power and energy sector,” said Adesina.

During the five-day annual meeting, the bankers of the African nations will have discussions on the development agenda and increasing engagement with India on various economic and financial fronts.

“We want to work with India on the areas of processing and value addition so that Africa doesn’t only remain a raw material exporter, but also add value to the products that it produces like petroleum, precious stones and agricultural produces,” added Adesina.

Adesina further mentioned that AfDB will also explore a possibility to engage with Indian companies and cultivators to utilise the uncultivated land in Africa, which has nearly 65% of the uncultivated arable land in the world. For the purpose, Africa will look for association for farm technology such as drip irrigation, mechanisation besides processing.

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Written by PH

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