New partnerships to boost trade and investment between India and East Africa
India-Africa relations got a further boost today (21 November) in Addis Ababa following the signing of two agreements that will help strengthen trade and investment across the Indian Ocean.
On the sidelines of the World Export Development Forum 2019, which is being held in the Ethiopian capital, International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing the two organizations to work together to promote trade and investment between India and Africa. FIEO is a trade promotion organization established by India’s Ministry of Commerce comprising a network of over 30,000 businesses.
Together, the two organizations will be working to raise awareness of business opportunities for Indian companies in Eastern and Southern Africa. The partnership will also provide support to African small and medium-sized enterprise to help them raise their visibility vis-à-vis Indian investors. This includes hosting investment promotion seminars in India and Africa. To kick off the collaboration, FIEO organized a visit to East Africa in November for 24 Indian companies to explore opportunities in Kenya and Ethiopia.
During WEDF 2019, ITC and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) also exchanged a letter of intent to partner on the India-East Africa Trade Help Desk. A digital tool designed by ITC, the Help Desk will help increase transparency and predictability in India-East Africa trade and investment, which is often impeded by a lack of information.
The portal provides access to market information, trade statistics, as well as business contacts for interested companies. The information on the portal will provide greater understanding for African SMEs about market opportunities in India and increase links with potential trade partners in the country. Likewise, Indian businesses will benefit from information to identify potential partnerships in East Africa.
Both agreements were facilitated by ITC’s Supporting Indian Trade and Investment (SITA) initiative, which works to build trade and investment linkages between India and East Africa.
Indian interest in business opportunities in Africa is growing – as demonstrated by the attendance of over 60 Indian companies at the WEDF business-to-business meetings. The companies are members of four leading industry organizations – the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India. They operate across the agricultural value chain including the spices, pulses, edible oils and dairy sectors. ITC also arranged a special session for the Indian businesses to engage with Ethiopian officials to learn about import and export logistics and trade regulations, among other topics. The Indian businesses had the opportunity to network with members of the Addis-based India Business Forum.
Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID), SITA aims to improve the competitiveness of select value chains in five East African countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania – through the provision of partnerships with institutions and businesses from India.
Facilitating India-Africa business partnerships is part of ITC’s wider work to scale up South-South trade and investment aimed at creating inclusive employment and ensuring income growth globally.