Workers unloading bags of rice of Indian origin at the port of Dakar, Senegal. India's trade with Africa is flourishing.
Photo: ©FAO/Marco Longari

Indian investors in Africa

India’s private sector could play a more important role on the African continent in the future. Officials call to go beyond government-to-government cooperation and promote private sector participation.

The groundwork has been laid for Indian investors who are looking to invest in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) reported on its website in August 2020. During a recent virtual conference hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and its partners, officials called for Indo-African partnerships to go beyond government-to-government cooperation and promote private sector participation in order to accelerate Africa’s development.

The Conference on Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Doing Business with Africa took place on 30 July 2020 and attracted more than 600 participants from over 45 countries. It was supported by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the African Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of India, and other organisations. Besides Africa and India, there were also participants from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, representing businesses, governments, financial institutions and business promotion agencies.

Akhilesh Mishra, India’s Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, urged the private sector to consider investing in youth and startups because those sectors have enormous potential for employment generation. He noted that aside from the long-term funding traditionally provided as official development assistance, African countries will require more targeted short-term financing.

Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President and CFO of the African Development Bank Group, highlighted the business potential in Africa, noting that the continent had great prospects for investors, with a growing consumer market that Indian firms cannot afford to miss. The positive outlook for Africa is reinforced by the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), she pointed out.

According to Tshabalala, there is a great opportunity for Indian industry to work together with the Bank in sectors such as power generation and transmission, energy, agricultural transformation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, technology, transportation, and industrialisation. Escorts Limited, one of India’s leading engineering companies, talked about the trilateral partnership between India, Japan and Africa in the agriculture sector.

The African Development Bank and India have a long-standing strategic partnership dating back almost 40 years to 1982, when India first joined the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group. A year later the country became a shareholder of the African Development Bank.

(AfDB/ile)

Read more at the African Development Bank (AFDB) website