The Indian Consulate will assist the industry in strategizing in high-potential sectors.
Opportunities to increase and diversify Indian exports to Africa, an export market that has grown four times in the last 15 years, will be discussed in detail by senior officials from the Indian Consulate in Johannesburg in online interaction with Indian businesses interested in exploring new possibilities in the post-Covid scenario.
'During the Pandemic, India's exports to Africa, particularly automobile and pharmaceuticals, received a significant boost. There are similar chances for other goods as well. The Consul General of India in Johannesburg will speak with Indian firms about such prospects this week at a virtual meet organised by the exporters' organisation FIEO,' a source told BusinessLine.
This is part of a programme launched by the Ministry of External Affairs last year to facilitate and promote Indian exports through its Missions and Posts across the world.
Indian exports to South Africa increased from USD 984 million in 2004-05 to USD 4 billion in 2019-20, however, they fell somewhat to USD 3.93 billion in 2020-21 owing to the Covid-19 epidemic at the start of the fiscal year. Imports, on the other hand, climbed 8.6 percent year on year to USD 7.5 billion.
Despite a little decrease in Indian exports to South Africa in 2020-21, products such as motor cars increased by 10.97% to USD 557 million. According to the Automotive Industry Export Council's 2017 Automotive Export Manual report, India was the leading point of origin for car imports into South Africa despite the extended Covid-19 lockdowns and general decreases in vehicle sales in 2020. 'Automobile and parts exports to South Africa have a huge potential for development,' the official said, adding that Indian exporters could utilise the nation as a hub for exports to other African countries.
Pharmaceuticals is another industry with potential for increased growth in the post-Covid future. India's pharmaceutical product exports to South Africa increased by 33% to USD 745 million in 2020-21, according to the official, and are expected to climb further with a focus on demand.
Aside from medicines and cars and components, India exports to South Africa transport equipment, engineering items, footwear, dyes and intermediates, chemicals, textiles, rice, and gems and jewellery.
According to FIEO, the main goal of the interactive session is to "understand the current economic condition of South Africa in light of Covid-19, explore the commercial prospects available in the current economic climate, and analyse the future opportunities of various industries."
With ties between India and Africa strengthening not only economically but also strategically, as evidenced by the two countries' recent WTO collaboration on intellectual property flexibilities for Covid-19 medical products, the environment is favourable for more business, according to the source.
India's overall goods exports declined 7.26 percent to USD 290.63 billion in 2020-21, while the nation achieved its highest-ever exports of USD 95 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal, representing an 85 percent increase over the first quarter of the previous fiscal.