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Africa, India bilateral trade expected to touch $100 bn in 2 years: AfDB

African Development Bank expects power, ICT and services to contribute to growth of bilateral trade

BS Reporter  |  Ahmedabad 

Akinwumi Adesina
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, addressing media during the 52nd Annual General Meeting being held for the first time in India, at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar (Photo: PTI)

The bilateral trade between India and Africa is set to touch $ 100 billion (roughly Rs 6,50,000 crore) in next two years, said Akinwumi A Adesina, President, (AfDB). The development bank will holding its five-day annual meetings of the group at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar from May 22, 2017 onwards.

Commenting on the bilateral trade, Adesina said, "In 2005-06 the total bilateral trade between India and Africa stood at $11.7 billion, which has reached to $56.9 billion by 2015-16. Now we expect the bilateral trade to exceed $100 billion in the next two years, helped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push for India-Africa partnership."

Among the sectors, AfDB expects power, especially solar, apart from pharma, ICT and services sectors to contribute to the growth of bilateral trade to $100 billion in two years.

Further, AfDB, which is investing into infrastructure to connect landlocked countries in the African continent to coastal regions, expects cooperation in ports and railways by India. According to Adesina, a key focus during the annual meetings will be to boost solar power generation, for which AfDB has also set up an Energy Inclusion Fund worth $500 million to fund businesses in off-grid renewable energy.

"That fund will invest anything between  $3-30 million dollars in companies that are doing renewable energy generation anything below 30 Mw. Africa has the potential to generate 11 terawatt of solar power," Adesina stated.

Terming the inadequate electrification in the African region as "unacceptable", Adesina said that AfDB was investing $12 billion in the electricity sector in next five years, which the banks expects to attract investment worth $34 billion by 2025 in the power and energy sector.

The AfDB's annual meeting will see African bankers discuss increased engagement with India on various economic and financial front, apart from others.

"We want to work with India on the areas of processing and value addition so that Africa doesn't only remain a raw material exporter, but also add value to the products that it produces like petroleum, precious stones and agricultural produce," said Adesina.

Meanwhile, AfDB is also looking for India's support in making Africa a self-reliant nation in food and agriculture as well as in value addition to key export items.