With the changing global scenario led by rapid economic growth in the third world countries, India’s economic and bilateral relations with Africa have witnessed new directions. India’s growth story has proved the country a knowledge-rich in the word in various sectors such as agriculture, food processing, rural livelihood generation, social sector programmes, rural development, skill development and many more.
The agriculture sector in Africa is expected to grow to US$ 1 trillion by 2030 from US$ 280 billion in 2014. This can only happen with growth largely dependent on technology. There is significant scope for the farm sector in Africa to benefit from the Indian experience in this sector, as well as co-operation on solutions for common challenges. The paper also mentions that Africa can be a key sourcing destination for pulses, a major source of protein in the diet of the Indian population, especially as the demand for pulses is expected to increase as the country develops. The biggest challenge anticipated for both Africa and India is the gap in food demand and supply, according to the KPMG-CII background paper titled – ‘India and Africa – collaboration for growth’.
This knowledge could benefit Africa, especially in small farm mechanisation. Indian investment in agriculture has the potential to exponentially boost production. With growing economic prowess and a shared vision of crafting an inclusive world order, India and Africa are proactively seeking to collaborate on global issues, ranging from combating terrorism and piracy, to close coordination in the global fora over the United Nations (UN) reforms, climate change, the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, the paper says.
Highlighting the potential collaboration between India and African countries, Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), said, “With our two regions enjoying young populations, abundant natural resources, good connectivity and strong ties, we can progress together on our development journey. Both sides have experienced strong growth in recent years, including in social and physical infrastructure, leading to rising incomes and new sectors of cooperation”.
This is reflected in the fact that bilateral trade has multiplied manifold in the last decade, while Indian companies are displaying rising interest in investing in Africa. The sectors of interest include agriculture, infrastructure, education and skill development, healthcare, manufacturing amongst others, Banerjee added.
A number of healthcare organisations from India have established footprints in Africa, with many more planning to penetrate the healthcare sector in Africa. In a nutshell, Indian healthcare organisations are actively looking to establish their presence in the form of greenfield and brownfield expansions, tele- medicine centres to attract medical tourism, etc. Many Indian manufacturers have set up their subsidiaries in this continent and have secured a large market share by supplying antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV, and other drugs that are in demand on a mass scale by the government/NGOs.
“India is an emerging economy and many Indian enterprises are investing in Africa, which contributes to Africa’s domestic and export economies. Indian companies are generating employment, transferring technology and building local investments to help boost Africa’s economy. Also, over the years, Indian companies have been actively engaged in major infrastructure projects in Africa, including watershed development, agriculture mechanisation, seeds development, construction of roads, railways, ports, airports, power plants, dams, etc.,” said, Navin Agrawal, Partner, KPMG in India.