New Delhi | Trade ministers from several African nations will converge here for the India Africa Trade Ministers’ Meeting (IATMM) on October 23 in the run-up to the India-Africa Summit to discuss ways to bolster trade ties with India and fast-track regional agreements.
Representatives from 54 African nations, including heads of state of some 40 countries, and the powerful African Union are expected to participate in the four-day summit beginning October 26. Prior to the forum summit, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is organising the 4th IATMM, which hopes to see the participation from across the African continent.
This will provide us an opportunity to take stock of our trade relations and explore the possibilities of taking our engagements to the next level, a senior Commerce Ministry official said.
Trade ministers of 53 countries have been extended invitations to participate in the 4th IATMM, along with the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union Commission, and Secretary Generals Heads of 8 RECs in Africa, he said.
The eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) include Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Stronger trade ties, particularly in oil and gas sector, strengthening maritime cooperation and lifting the overall engagement to a new high will be on top of the agenda. India’s current trade with Africa stands at around USD 75 billion and it has granted some USD 7.4 billion for various developmental and capacity building projects in the past four years. India has implemented a total of 137 projects in 41 African countries during the said period.
The summit will see participation of over 400 business delegates from Africa, besides all major Indian chambers of commerce. A number of African countries, including Tanzania, Sudan, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda, have huge oil and gas reserves and India wants to invest in the sector to fuel its economic growth. Having a solid partnership in exploiting the blue economy will be another major focus. Blue economy is marine-based economic development that results in overall improvement in human well-being and social equity.
During the 1st IATMM held on May 21, 2011, in Addis Ababa, it was decided that trade ministers of India and Africa will meet prior to the Africa-India Forum Summit and the India-Africa Trade Ministers Dialogue will be an annual fixture to be held alternately in India and one of the African countries.
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