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Tuesday, May 01, 2001



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Time ripe for expanding trade with Africa: Omar

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, April 30

THE Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Omar Abdullah, has said that the time is right for India to substantially expand trade, investment, and go in for technology transfer and technical cooperation with African countries.

Addressing the India Workshop of Asia-Africa Business Forum here on Monday, the Minister said that sectors such as drugs and pharmaceuticals, chemicals, information technology, automotive and auto components, machine tools, medical and surgical equipment s, small and medium enterprises have enormous scope for mutual cooperation. The workshop was organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

While noting that India's share in Africa's global trade had been little less than two per cent due to various factors including an information gap about business opportunities, the Minister said that it was encouraging that in spite of the constraints, trade with the African region have grown rapidly. Mr Abdullah noted that trade with the sub-Saharan region had registered a record increase from $1,711.3 million during 1994-95 to $4,856.84 million during 1998-99.

The Minister also outlined the efforts being made by the Government to increase trade and investment ties with Africa and mentioned that the Government was looking at measures to improve financing of exports.

He emphasised on the importance of technology exports to Africa and noted that India had successfully executed projects in engineering, telecommunications, railways and construction sector in various African countries.

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