Partnership critical for success of growth multipliers
Partnership is a critical factor in the success of policies when shared goals bring various parties together in a synergistic collaboration. The Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Arancha González, said partnership can bring together collective knowledge and resources to serve as growth multipliers. She was speaking at the opening of the 10th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership in New Delhi, India, on 9 March 2014.
‘Partnership is the most practicable, cost efficient and impact sustaining policy which we as governments, international organisations and the private sector can coalese around,’ said Ms González ‘ In this fast changing world of technological change, of innovations in transportation and transformation in the ways goods and services are conceived, produced and traded, it is only through putting our resources in shared baskets and harnessing our comparative advantage that we can truly have the scale and impact that we need to use trade and private sector development as transformative tools.’
The Executive Director said the Conclave is a clear example of effective partnership by elevating and transforming the business links between India and Africa over the past decade. She noted the increase in India-Africa trade from more than 30 per cent annually between 2005 and 2011, with a forecast to reach $90 billion by 2015. Ms González also remarked that India has moved from being the 13th largest exporter to Africa in 2001 to become its fifth largest exporter within a decade. Conversely, India which ranked as the 14th largest source of imports from Africa a decade ago has now become its third largest, accounting for almost seven per cent of Africa’s total exports.
‘Indian investments in Africa in banking, mining and metals industries, industrial construction projects, telecommunications, information and communication technology (ICT), energy and automobiles, facilitates the transfer of technology and employment creation. Africa has much to gain from Indian expertise and knowledge, especially in the area of ICT and the development of innovative solutions to address private sector priorities. While India can gain from increasing their share in the African market. Africa remains poised for the growth miracle of this century. The statistics increasingly show that with the rise of the middle class in Africa, the youth-leaning demography, the technological leap-frogging which has been occurring and the tentative steps into global value chains, Africa is the market place and could be the supplier of the future,’ said Ms González.
She underscored the need for effective trade facilitation, access to finance, and clear and transparent regulatory frameworks to boost the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which underpin economic growth.
‘These SMEs are the backbones of the economies and serve as incubators of innovative thought and solutions. They create platforms for women to step into the world of business and serve as hands-on training grounds to the youth who will lead the future development of the continent. Knowledge-sharing, mentoring, transfer of technology, especially in the agri-processing sector, which can address food security concerns, can enhance this partnership.’
Ms González stated that the services sector can spearhead socio-economic development across Africa, particularly in the ICT industry through India’s Pan-African e-Network Project which offers tele-education and telemedicine solutions to around 50 African countries. She said Africa can tap India’s strength in technology by emulating its JUGAAD or frugal innovation exercise through the introduction of water hand pumps in Africa’s countryside. She added that the India-Africa Partnership underpinned by JUGAAD will result in opportunities arising from adversity, with the ability to do more for less, and to think and act flexibly to find simple solutions for increasingly complex problems.
The Executive Director said ITC’s engagement with Africa has strengthened over the years with 60 per cent of its activities devoted to Sub-Saharan Africa. The ITC has provided assistance to African countries on WTO accession; trade facilitation via the development of national export and sector strategies; building and enhancing trade support institutional infrastructure; and enhancing sector and enterprise competitiveness.
Ms González announced the signing of two agreements in New Delhi one of which is with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to launch the Supporting India’s Trade Preferences for Africa (SITA) project which will focus on enhancing the value of exports to India from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. This will be ITC’s largest project to promote trade and investment co-operation. The other agreement will be a Memorandum of Understanding between ITC and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to steer future collaboration with the private sector to promote international competitiveness and market access.