Stakeholders share expectations for SITA: an India-East Africa trade promotion project

18 July 2014
ITC News

Public and private sector representatives from India and five East African countries shared their expectations for the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) new South-South cooperation project, Supporting India’s Trade Preferences for Africa (SITA) at a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on 10 July 2014.

Delegates discussed goals and expectations from the SITA project – which is designed to increase exports from five East African Countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania) to India through the sharing of skills and technologies, and the facilitation of investment from India – as part of the project’s first Partnership Platform meeting. The project is funded by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Department for International Development (DFID).

SITA focuses on improving exports to India from the five East African countries, while facilitating investment, technology and skills sharing from India. SITA’s Partnership Platform promotes evidence-based solutions to enable greater trade and investment linkages between India and the selected East African countries by gathering stakeholders from the public and private sectors to provide thought leadership to improve the business and investment climate and help to identify business opportunities.

Ethiopian representatives said their main focus areas were an increase in investment from India, particularly in the agro-processing industry, and the sharing of expertise related to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up more than 90% of the Ethiopian economy.

Rwandan delegates shared their views on operationalizing policies to foster an enabling business environment, including trade-related technical assistance to facilitate access for Rwandan products to the Indian market. They also discussed opportunities for joint business ventures and coordination of government-to-government contacts. These factors were seen as critical in achieving the national goal of 38% year-on-year export growth by 2020.

Tanzanian participants outlined the need to strengthen national regulatory and business environments and to promote joint ventures. They underscored the importance of knowledge and technology transfer from India, improved trade infrastructure and business-to-business linkages, as well as greater support for financial and non-financial products.

Delegates from Uganda focused on the promotion of agro-products, cooperation in the financial sector, facilitation of the establishment of Indian enterprises in the manufacturing sector, the establishment of a business process outsourcing hub in East Africa, and the strengthening of trade support institutions.

Representatives from Kenya shared their expectations for export diversification, promotion of health services and information and communications technologies, transfer of technology from India for value-added production, and greater cooperation among Indian and Kenyan trade support institutions.

Indian delegates had expectations for common regional markets to facilitate the entry of Indian companies into East Africa and the export of capital and investments from India to Africa. They underlined the benefits of an improved financial and regulatory framework, aggregation of SMEs, facilitation of joint ventures, and support to stimulate the capital and debt markets in East Africa.