African officials on Tuesday called for more investment from India as the continent is looking to industrialization for development.
Speaking at the third Africa-India trade ministers meeting, AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said “India has begun investing in the energy sector as well as mining in Africa, we look forward to these investments contributing to Africa’s agenda to promoting industrialization and value-added products for raw materials.”
Dlamini-Zuma called for more Indian financial direct investment into Africa, saying “such investments should be diversified and encourage local private sector participation, particular for women and Africa’s growing youth population.”
Lauding India for its continued contribution to the African development at the meeting, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said “We have been partners for many years and our trade relations continue to grow from strength to strength.”
He also urged India to help Africa become “industrial producers” by forging a mutual beneficial relationship.
“Africa needs to industrialize, and the option of simply producing value-added products and exporting those to the developed world is no longer viable,” said the minister.
India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma said that his country would be committed to play a meaningful role in the development in Africa.
India is currently Africa’s fourth largest trading partner, while Africa is India’s sixth largest partner. As the trade between Africa and India reached 60 billion US dollars in 2011, it is expected that the bilateral trade would reach 90 billion US dollars by 2015.
Among the total amount of the imported gas and oil in India, more than 20 percent were from Africa.
Acknowledging India as an important partner in joint efforts to promote the regional integration in Africa, officials said that the bilateral trade needs to be balanced.
The mechanism of the Africa-India trade ministers meeting was established as a platform for dialogue between trade ministers in May, 2011, and the hosting of the annual meeting is rotated between Africa and India.