ITC and SITA: A New Era in Trade and Investment Related Cooperation

20 May 2015
ITC News

SITA will tap into the growing South-South trade dimension, which is set to become one third of world trade, from just ten percent about twenty years ago, Ms. Arancha González, Executive Director of International Trade Centre (ITC) said at the SITA Implementation Partners Meet held in New Delhi on March 20.

To this end, ITC and SITA, with its unique partnership platform model brings together institutional stakeholders, government representatives and businesses, offering options to discuss policies that will improve the business environment across Africa and India, and provide solutions to promote trade and investment between the two regions.

Commenting on the project and the partnerships that have been successfully established so far, Ms. González remarked, ‘This is my third visit to India as Executive Director of ITC, and the three expressions that I have learned during these visits – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The world is one family) ‘Jugaad’ (frugal innovation) and ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (Be the one for whom the guest is God) - reflect the unity that underpins the way we have gotten here together.’

‘And it augurs very well for what is to come,’ she added.

According to Ms. González, SITA presents a new model for development cooperation. It takes development aid, the traditional ODA (Official Development Assistance), and blends this intelligently with the private sector trade and investment agencies like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and EXIM Bank. This will help in mitigating market failures, and with assured trade finance the model presents all the necessary ingredients for a successful trade partnership.

Today SITA stands for Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa. From the initial perception of seeing India as a destination for exports from the five African countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia – SITA has evolved to explore partnership possibilities not only to create trade between Indian and East African businesses but also to foster investment between the two regions. It looks at trade and investment possibilities - not just to boost export from Africa to India, but also tap into other markets.

As SITA advances into implementation, the project will benchmark the chosen sectors against their closest competitors and then devise a step by step process for businesses to out compete and gain share in the best markets. East African businesses will be introduced and matched based on complementarities and attractiveness with potential Indian partners, and vice versa, they will then work together. SITA will also work towards strengthening trade support institutions - strong institutions being vital accelerators for growth and sustainability.

As it stands, SITA has already registered wins, Ms. González noted. Consultations during SITA’s second partnership meet in Kigali - between ITC, Rwanda’s Ministry of Trade and EXIM Bank India - saw the project facilitating a study to establish the feasibility for an export credit guarantee fund in Rwanda to boost trade. Furthermore, in February, SITA in partnership with SEWA Bharat supported the participation of six Ethiopian women artisans in the Dastkar Bazaar in New Delhi, enabling them not only to sell their products, but also connect with Indian buyers directly to understand and serve the Indian market better.

In conclusion, paying her tribute to SITA partners and acknowledging the hard work by all, Ms González affirmed ITC’S commitment to the partnership in creating trade: ‘You can count on our continued support to show results, the sooner the better.’