SITA project targets sector-led growth to boost India-East Africa trade (en)
(Kigali) Policymakers and members of the business community from India and five East African countries will discuss shortlisted sectors for export growth as part of the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Supporting India’s Trade Preferences for Africa (SITA) project.
Participants of SITA’s second Partnership Platform meeting, to be held on 18-19 September in Kigali, will prioritize needs and potential areas of support for the shortlisted sectors in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The ultimate goal of SITA is to increase the selected East African countries’ trade with and investment from India.
‘We’re promoting investment-led trade, so rather than taking the raw materials back to India, we are saying come to Africa, set up shop here, contribute to the country and the society, and take your produce, add value and take it somewhere else,’ said Neerja Bhatia, Senior Director, Confederation of Indian Industry. ‘So you’re helping the economy here, you’re helping your own country, and this is the way economic progress happens between two countries.’
The sectors in East Africa being considered for development include beans and pulses, essential and edible oils, business process outsourcing, spices, coffee, dried vegetables, cotton and leather.
These sectors were shortlisted by participants of the first Partnership Platform meeting held in Nairobi in July, based on their potential to produce high-quality goods and services for Indian buyers. Since then, ITC has conducted needs assessments and project-design missions to assess the needs of the sectors in each country. Demand surveys are also being carried out among Indian businesses to measure buyers’ demands and requirements.
‘The countries of East Africa need the technology that is in India to be imparted into our economies,’ said Ambassador Nelson Ndirangu, Director of Economics and External Trade Affairs, Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ‘And India will also need to buy some of the products that will be produced here. So we are looking forward to issues like joint ventures or even welcoming Indian firms to establish their branches here, where they can produce not just for India, but also for the rest of the world.’
This upcoming Partnership Platform meeting will also raise awareness of India’s Duty Free Tariff Preference scheme. Delegates will discuss ways to use it to increase exports from the five East African countries to India and analyse recent trade trends and issues, such as non-tariff measures, export procedures and rules of origin.
The meeting will take place at the tail-end of ITC’s flagship event, the World Export Development Forum, to be held in Kigali from 15-17 September. More than 600 entrepreneurs, policymakers and representatives of trade support institutions will gather to discuss ways that small and medium-sized enterprises can fuel job creation through trade development.