India is the third largest export destination for Africa, as 18 percent of its imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas come from West Africa, and this percentage is expected to rise to 90 percent by 2025, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said.
Al-Mashat made the comments during her participation in the 15th session of the CII-EXIM Bank Digital Conclave on the India-Africa Project Partnership, which was attended by state officials from the two regions.
The attendees included Minister of State for External Affairs of India Shri Moraldahran, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe Sebusiso Moyo, and the deputy minister of foreign affairs and regional integration of Ghana Charles Ooredoo.
During the meeting, Al-Mashat underscored the strength of Indo-African relations, noting that today these relations are developing in a dynamic manner, which reflects a promising future for achieving sustainable development goals.
The minister added that recent years have witnessed strong levels of economic growth for both Africa and India, which has contributed to a deepening of relations and an increase in intra-trade, as well as increased interest by Indian companies to invest in the African continent, particularly in agriculture, infrastructure, education, skill development, healthcare, manufacturing and more.
She also referred to a report by the World Trade Organisation entitled ‘India and Africa: Trade and Investment between the South and the South,’ which revealed that intra-regional trade grew by 32 percent annually between 2005 and 2011.
“More than half of the world’s labour force will come from Africa in the future, and there is no better time to capitalise on partnerships and invest in Africa’s fast-growing potential,” Al-Mashat said in her speech.
Al-Mashat highlighted the historical relations between Egypt and India, which extend for about 65 years, stressing that India is one of the most important economic partners for Egypt, as it is the country’s 10th largest export and import destination. She added that more than 540 Indian companies are investing in Egypt with more than $3.5 billion in various fields, such as petrochemical, industry and services.
Minister Al-Mashat called on Indian companies to engage more in the Egyptian and African markets and benefit from free trade agreements that can enable India to reach more than 600 million consumers in Africa, Arab countries and Europe via the Suez Canal axis.
“Egypt is the gateway to Africa, and that she is aspiring to work more to create better opportunities for partnership between India and the countries of the African continent,” Al-Mashat said.