India-Africa Conclave

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    • The India-Africa CII-EXIM Bank Conclave recently took place in New Delhi

    More about the News

    • Forty high-level ministers from 17 countries, including Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, participated in the two-day summit.
      • This is the 17th edition of the conclave.
    • Four major focus areas for the India-Africa partnership were identified in the colclave: 
      • Solar power, 
      • Military exchanges in the context of the security of the Indian Ocean, 
      • Physical and digital infrastructure, 
      • Health care, pharma and vaccines, and start-up ecosystem.
    • India Exim Bank’s study titled “Building a Resilient Africa: Enhanced Role of India” was also released during the conclave.
      • According to the study, there is a huge trade complementarity between India and Africa. 
      • India’s total trade with Africa stood at $82.5 billion in 2021, recording the highest level witnessed by both regions.

    Significance

    • Previous editions of EXIM Bank:
      • In the last sixteen editions, the Conclave has played a pivotal role in encouraging Indian companies to establish and grow their footprints in Africa.
    • Trade:
      • India is Africa’s fourth-largest national trading partner, according to Exim Bank and the African Export-Import Bank (Afriexim Bank)
      • Merchandise trade grew by 34 percent from USD 67 billion in 2019-20 to USD 89 billion in 2021-22.
    • Investment:
      • India is among the top 5 investors in Africa.
      • The Ministry of External Affairs said that 38 African nations have benefited from India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme which provides duty-free access to 98.2 percent of India’s total tariff lines.
    • Lines of Credit (LoCs):
      • Lines of Credit (LoCs) worth $12.26 billion have so far been extended to African countries, making them the second-largest recipient of India’s concessional loans.

    EXIM Bank – Export-Import Bank

    • Exim Bank was established by the Government of India, under the Export-Import Bank of India Act, 1981 as a purveyor of export credit, mirroring global Export Credit Agencies. 
    • Exim Bank serves as a growth engine for industries and SMEs through a wide range of products and services. 
      • This includes import of technology and export product development, export production, export marketing, pre-shipment and post-shipment and overseas investment.
    • EXIM Bank has laid strong emphasis on enhancing project exports, the funding options for which have been enhanced with the introduction of the Buyer’s Credit-National Export Insurance Account (BC-NEIA) program

    India Africa Relations

    • Long history of partnership: 
      • India has a long history of partnership with Africa, with solidarity and political affinity going back to the early 1920s when both regions were fighting against colonial rule and oppression. 
      • After India gained independence, it became a leading voice in support of African decolonization at the United Nations. 
    • Promoted South-South Cooperation since independence:
      • Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme: 
        • In 1964, India launched the ITEC Programme to provide technical assistance through human resource development to other developing countries, with African countries the greatest beneficiaries of it and the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme (SCAAP).
    • Building African capacity:
      • In 1949, India announced 70 scholarships for students from other developing countries to pursue studies in the country. 
      • Currently, about 98 Indian institutions run training courses in fields such as 
        • Agriculture, 
        • Food and fertilizer, 
        • Engineering and technology, and 
        • Environment and climate change. 
        • Oversees defence training programmes, 
        • Study tours, 
        • Aid for disaster relief, 
        • The deputation of Indian experts abroad and 
        • Project-based cooperation. 
      • Africa is a key beneficiary of the programme with nearly 50 percent of the ITEC slots reserved for countries from the region.
      • India-Africa cooperation has also focused on techno-economic capacity building, skill development and capacity building featured prominently in all the India-Africa Forum Summits.
    • COVID 19:
      • India has also aided African countries amid crises, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
      • India has provided 270 metric tonnes of food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
      • Supplied essential medicines (including hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol) to over 25 African countries. 
      • The Indian government also organised an e-ITEC training courses for healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and management protocols. 
      • Vaccine diplomacy – Even as developed countries have focussed on securing large vaccine supplies for their own populations, India is being hailed for its vaccine diplomacy — it has exported over 1.6 crore doses of vaccines globally, of which about 62.7 lakh doses (or about 37 percent) are as grant assistance. 

    Way Ahead

    • India can play a pivotal role in the economic development of several African countries in industry-based skill developments, employment, financial inclusion, basic needs of people across the African continent, infrastructure creation and providing connectivity through greater and deeper penetration of telecom networks.
    • Bridging gaps in trade finance could unlock the latent export potential of India and Africa and could increase the share in global export participation of both regions.
    • India needs to be dynamic in its engagements in Africa and address the changing needs of the Continent while emphasising the huge opportunity the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement presents for India.

    Source: TH