India, Africa set trade target of $90 bn by 2015

India and Africa have decided to revise bilateral trade upwards to USD 90 billion in the next three years, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Saturday.

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2012, 19:54 PM IST

New Delhi: India and Africa have decided to revise bilateral trade upwards to USD 90 billion in the next three years, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Saturday.

Earlier, both the sides had set a target of USD 70 billion to be achieved by 2015. It had stood at USD 62 billion in 2011.

"This is a significant improvement, considering the fact that a decade ago the trade was USD 3 billion. Given the current growth rate, we have agreed to revise the trade target to USD 90 billion by 2015," Sharma said at the second India-Africa Business Council meet here.

African Union Commission (AUC) Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell M Mkwezalamba said the African nations are keen on increasing their collaboration with India.

Sharma also said India would also set up a integrated textiles cluster in Africa which is expected to attract investments to the tune of USD 350 million and provide employment to 60,000 people.

"We expect that this cluster will be established within 2-3 years and have vertically integrated production facilities with state-of-the-art infrastructure and a public-private partnership model of governance," the minister said.

During the meeting, the ministers launched the India-Africa Business Council (IABC) which was co-chaired by Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and Dangote Group President Alhaji Aliko.

The council would suggest the way forward on enhancing economic and commercial relations between India and Africa.

Besides, the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme in the African nations like Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Uganda was launched.

The programme is an initiative by India towards helping the African cotton growing countries to build capacity, technical expertise and thereby competitiveness in the field.

IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Limited is the project management agency for implementing the project.

Also, the two sides are finalising a trade-opening pact to enhance economic ties by reducing tariffs on several key products.

"We are engaged in negotiations with Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) which are at an advanced stage and I will seek support of member countries of SACU to help us finalise this agreement," Sharma said.

The SACU comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

The two sides are also working on setting up a diamond institute in Botswana to train people.

PTI