India-Africa summit: Africa’s growth to be fructified

New Delhi: India’s pledge at the recently held India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in New Delhi is set to influx Africa’s projected growth. The summit aims at promoting the Public Private partnership Programmes (PPP) across the continent work. Experts say that this might result in a slew of initiatives like power projects to generate 2,600 GW over the next decades, and also a progressive movement in the area of agriculture, healthcare and telecommunications.

Indications that the private sector in India is aware of the opportunities that Africa has to offer can be summed up from what Vijay Kumar Chohan, executive director for international operations at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, had to say: “There are immense opportunities to the tune of 2,600 GW over the next 10 years which would result in a number of transmission line projects.”

Koroma-In-Indian-African-Summit

President Koroma at the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015

During the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma of the Republic of Sierra Leone applauded India’s leadership in advancing the cause of the global South within the frameworks of the Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, the G-20 and the United Nations.

“Today the International community is discussing and acting on climate change, environmental degradation, desertification, light weapons and the fights against terrorism, human trafficking, drugs and piracy. These are critical concerns for Africa and India. Our populations are not only the more at risk, but they are also the least able to weather the devastating effects of these trans-border events. With nearly half the word’s population, India/Africa synergies on these matters is central to the future of humanity. With the biggest youth populations, our people are becoming the mainstay of humanity’s progress, they are the future of our species, and we must cooperate to secure that future. India and Africa must build a great partnership to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.”

There are also indications that some African countries would like to get into generating electricity from coal. Given this, it is encouraging that India’s coal secretary, Anil Swarup, said that the country has targeted the doubling of production to one billion tonnes per year by 2020 and thereby increasing generation by 50 percent that year.

African countries, experts say, can take forward Swarup’s thoughts that India would be keen to partner with the continent to explore business opportunities in the coal sector by way of exploration, mining, development of projects and mines by Indian companies.

Agriculture offers another great opportunity. With a large pool of unemployed youth, Africa can take advantage of its improving investment climate to attract Indian money to grow its agriculture. International accounting firm KPMG said that “the potential growth in the agricultural sector on the continent is huge. Agricultural growth in Africa has failed to reach its potential.”

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) says: “The value of Africa’s agricultural output is about $280 billion and has the potential to reach $800 billion by 2030,” adding: “It could address a major problem in Africa by providing economic opportunities for the 200 million people between 14 and 24 years old that make Africa home of the youngest population in the world.” Thus, there are many who feel that changes in governance and an improved investment atmosphere can help attract private Indian capital.

And, amid indications that the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, is turning towards China to help develop the country’s agriculture, Indian companies also have the opportunity to engage in large-scale agricultural projects.

In the health sector, Nigeria alone is said to have lost close to $2 billion annually to India as a result of an inadequate health delivery sector.

KPMG Africa chairman Oluseyi Bickersteth told IANS: “In 2012, about 40 percent of all visas to India from Nigeria were for medical tourism and Nigerians spent about $260 million on medical expenses in India.”

Bickersteth said: Indian involvement in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery is gradually increasing after a lull in the 1970s when most of the Indian medical officers operating in the country left. However, the new interest in Nigeria has been bolstered by the Indian government’s announcement last January to set up two specialist units for eye and cancer care.

The telecom sector is another area that is looking for investors across the continent. Therefore, experts say, with the Indian government keen to improve the poor balance of trade with African countries, an improved political atmosphere backed by right policy frameworks would be the magnet to attract Indian companies.

Story adapted from http://www.newsgram.com/



Categories: Business, Development, Sierra Leone

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