The quest for building new regional synergies received a boost at the 13th Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership.
The Conclave which took place from 25-27th March 2018 in the Indian Capital city of New Delhi had as theme “Partners in development, building new synergies”.
Seen as India’s largest Africa focused business event, the Conclave brought together 3 national Vice Presidents, 35 Government Ministries, 850 delegates from 22 African countries and held over 500 B2B meetings on 523 multi-sector projects.
Business leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs, etc participated in several seminars, round tables and panels to discuss and make new resolutions to leapfrog India Africa relationship. The round tables focused on financing for investment issues, infrastructure, development partnerships, agriculture and food processing, services, security and renewable energy.
The Conclave serves to put the “Africa Opportunity” on the radar of Indian investors with a focus to scale up India Africa bilateral trade to $150b, enhance Africa’s export to India especially manufacturing goods using the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme, and enhance Indian investments in core sectors in Africa.
Participants were of the view that this year’s conclave (sponsored by the Kirloskar Group) set the stage for the resurgence and upscaling of India Africa economic partnership by leveraging on the strengths and competencies of the constituent partners.
The Conclave identified financing issues; including but not limited to slow pace of getting Lines of Credit (LOCs) sanctioned, and called for innovative financing mechanisms, co-financing by development financing institutions and multilateral financing to resolve the challenges.
Beyond financing issues, the Conclave stressed the need for the respective countries to create an enabling business environment and implement an infrastructure development policy in order to mitigate the risks associated with investing in foreign countries.
It was not all about challenges as the Government of India (GOI) and the Indian Industry pledged to support and enhance partnership with Africa. The Government of India launched an Action Plan to give focused attention to 12 identified champion services sectors. A dedicated Africa Fund to support sectors have been set up with great opportunities for Africa. African countries were enjoined to leverage on the Fund and the Action Plan to attract investment projects to their countries in line with their priorities.
India also announced plans to offer enhanced consultancy and support services in preparing bankable project reports in order to ease some of the challenges faced in accessing financing for projects in developing countries of Africa.
The Asia Office of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) announced the Africa Investment Forum to engage the private sector and facilitate projects that have the capacity to transform Africa.
The International Solar Alliance announced a platform for India and Africa to collaborate and share experiences and technical know how in the effort to electrify Africa.
As the 13th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave comes to a close, what remains is for the partners to match intentions with concrete and swift actions. The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission was on hand to deepen relationships with industry associations and promote Nigeria’s investment opportunities.
The annual CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership was first launched in 2005 and has played a pivotal role in the on going expansion and diversification of India Africa economic relations. So far over 3387 projects worth $327 billion have been discussed in the past 12 editions and facilitated the enhancement of Indian project exports to African Markets.
The Indian Government owned Indian EXIM Bank has extended operative LOCs worth $8.2 billion to 156 projects in 43 African countries. According to FDI Markets (which tracks cross border investments in new physical projects or expansion of existing investments) India was the sixth largest country investing in Africa after UAE, UK, China, France, and the USA during the period 2007 to 2016.