According to Rahul Chhabra, Secretary-Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) represents a great opportunity for Indian businesses to partner with African counterparts to deepen their integration and accelerate their growth.
He said that Indian businesses must take advantage of the tremendous change that is taking place in Africa, speaking at the inaugural program of Namaskar Africa, which was coordinated by FICCI.
“We do not have a donor-recipient partnership with Africa, but we deem our partners to be development partners. We have Indian projects operating in 48 African countries, worth a total of 13 billion dollars, out of 54 African countries. This is the scope of our contribution to the continent of Africa,” Chhabra added.
He went on to say that Indian firms built many of Africa's landmark projects, such as the Gambia's Parliament and Ghana's Presidential Palace. “Indian power plants produce one-third of Sudan's electricity and one-fourth of Uganda's electricity, thanks to Indian lines of credit,” said Chhabra.
Preparing to boost manufacturing capacity in Africa, he said that the first cement plant in Djibouti, the first milk processing plant in Mauritania and the first sugar plant in Ghana are the first steps towards establishing a closer relationship in the manufacturing sector with Indian credit lines.
During the pandemic, India provided medical assistance to over 25 African countries, with Vande Bharat flights bringing African patients to India also during the lockdown, he said. “In Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda, five air travel bubble plans are currently in place to sustain air connectivity so that such operations can begin,” he added.
“Our vaccine stocks have been sent to the majority of African nations, with several more on the way. India is partnering with its allies, and vaccines will be spread to other African countries soon. We've kept our resources available and are waiting for partner country clearance for a smooth flow of vaccine supplies,” he said.
HE Dr. Daniel Peter Othol, the Dean of the African Group of Heads of Missions in India and the Ambassador of South Sudan, said that the relationship between India and Africa needs to be strengthened to the good of Africa. He went on to say that the pandemic has melted the African economy, and that Africa is looking to the Indian subcontinent for help.
“During the COVID-19 age, we want India to mechanize African agriculture, develop our social and physical infrastructure, and meet our health and educational needs. There is an immediate need to improve the immunity of the people of Africa, so Africa is looking at India for vaccines,” he said.