Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that there is a "huge untapped potential in the India-South Africa partnership" and both the countries should work together for a new era of shared growth and prosperity for their people.
Addressing the India-South Africa Business Forum at ITC Maurya hotel here, Prime Minister Modi said: "There is a huge untapped potential in the India-South Africa partnership. We must work together for a new era of shared growth and prosperity for the benefit of our two countries and their people."
"We are committed to building a 'New India' with next-generation infrastructure and with emphasis on speed, skill and scale," the Prime Minister added.
Prime Minister Modi went on saying that India's diplomatic relations with South Africa over trade is 'on the upswing,' which has crossed 10 billion dollar mark as a result of business initiatives taken during the financial year of 2017-18.
"Two major business initiatives in 2018 have helped this along. One was the India-South Africa Business Summit held in Johannesburg in April 2018. The other was Invest in India Business Forum, also in Johannesburg in November 2018," Prime Minister Modi said.
"However, there is a great potential still. I call upon all Indian and South African government agencies, investment promotion organisations as well as business leaders of both countries to work pro-actively to realise the true potential. I was pleased to see that there has been a significant participation and presence from African countries in our States," he said.
The Prime Minister said India and South Africa sealed a strategic partnership 22 years ago through the Red Fort Declaration. "I believe that continuous dialogue between the two old friends and partners has brought us closer in every way," he said.
"We remain steadfast in our commitment for closer cooperation, bilaterally as well as multilaterally. In recent times, there are new beginnings and interesting growth stories between two old friends," he added.
Prime Minister Modi said that India's economy, at present, is US dollar 2.6 trillion and is the fastest growing major economy of the world. "We are on our way to becoming the fifth largest economy globally," he said.
India has jumped to the 77th position in the latest edition of World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Report, improving 65 places in the last four years. India is one of the top foreign direct investment (FDI) destinations listed by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
"But, we are not satisfied," the Prime Minister said, adding that "on a daily basis, we are making necessary changes and reforms in important sectors of the economy."
"Our special programmes such as Make in India, Digital India and Start-Up India have caught the imagination of the world. Our industry has progressed towards Industry Four-Point Zero and other innovative technologies including artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, and robotics," he said.
"Our government is making all efforts to increase the living standards of our 1.3 billion people, who form one-sixth of the humanity," Prime Minister Modi said.
"We wish you well in your efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment in South-Africa, as well as for the creation of over one million jobs for the youth in three years. I am happy that India is contributing to these objectives. Our investment in South Africa is constantly growing. This has approached 10 billion dollars, creating over 20,000 jobs locally," he said.
"India is happy to share its experience in policy reforms and setting up ground level agencies, encouraging more investments by Indian companies in South Africa and more South African companies to enter the Indian market," the Prime Minister said, while extending cooperation on issues related to food and agro-processing, deep mining, defence, fin-tech, insurance and infrastructure sectors.
"Likewise, India could also partner with South Africa in start-ups, health care and pharmaceuticals, biotech, information technology and IT-enabled sectors," the Prime Minister noted.
"We are delighted to be a part of the South Africa skills story through the recent launch of the Gandhi Mandela Skills Institute. This initiative seeks to empower the youth," Prime Minister Modi said.
The Prime Minister further stated that another important collaboration between India and South Africa is the gems and jewelry sector, whereby both countries could explore avenues for direct procurement of diamond.
"It will ensure economies of scale, and also reduce the cost for both buyers and sellers. South Africa could also join hands with India in our campaign for New and Renewable Energy, specifically through the "International Solar Alliance," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also stated that the simplification of the existing visa regime for businessmen and tourists, and direct connectivity would further ease business and people-to-people exchanges.
Prime Minister Modi is hosting President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, who is on a two-day visit to India to be the Chief Guest on the occasion of the Republic Day parade here on Saturday.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)