Namaskar Africa 2017: India Seeks Stronger Trade Ties with West Africa
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Namaskar Africa, an initiative of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and the Government of India that aims to promote the country’s economic cooperation with regional block of African countries, will be organized this year on August 16-17 at Ghana International Trade Fair Centre, Accra. The event is meant to help Indian industry connect with the private sector and the government of the host country as well as the other participant nations.
The upcoming event is expected to promote trade and project exports between the countries, position brand India as a leading economic player in the West African region, facilitate Indian investments into the region, and create awareness about the best technologies and products that India has to offer. The occasion will also present opportunities offered by the West African region to Indian participants.
The sectors that will be in focus are agriculture and food processing, automobile, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, education, energy, infrastructure and construction, and textiles and clothing, Ghanaweb reported. An industry delegation of around 60 Indian companies representing these sectors will participate in the business forum and exhibition, it added.
Ghana Top Destination for India
The initiative is held at various locations in Africa. Ghana was chosen as the focus country this year for several reasons. India figures in the top 5 import destination for Ghana, and imports from Ghana are increasing, leading to negative trade balance for India. Ghana has also been preparing to implement the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), a platform for a Customs Union that facilitates free trade and greater regional economic integration. The west African country is also seen asone that can contribute towards energy and food security of India. The leaders of both the countries during the recent visits emphasised upon the need to leverage their economic interactions to $5 billion by 2020, according to Ficci’s statement.
Looking at the strong response from African as well as Indian industry, and the demand for increasing the scale of the programme, it expanded to include three critical components of exhibition, conference and B2Bs with an objective to reflect India’s engagement cutting across trade, investment, technology transfer and capacity building.
Namaskar Africa 2017, which will be inaugurated by MJ Akbar, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, is also expected to see participation from Ghana’s neighbouring countries like Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Cote-d-Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra-Leone and Togo.