A Dialogue between emerging Superpowers

  • December 15, 2018

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) organised the 2018 India-Africa dialogue – an interactive session with the Heads of African Missions in India on Friday at The Lawns, ASSOCHAM House in New Delhi.

ASSOCHAM is one of the apex trade associations of India that represents the interests of business and commerce in India, and acts as an interface between issues and initiatives.

The presence of various dignitaries of African Missions at the session symbolized the true strength of relations between India and the respective countries of the African continent.

The Dean of African Diplomatic Corps in India, Ambassador Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam of the State of Eritrea, remarked how important an event it was for India-Africa relations.

He said, “We are here to discuss how India and Africa can further strengthen their strategic partnership, particularly in the areas of trade relations, economic investment and political relations, education, ICT, innovation, agriculture, climate change and so on. Africa is the next continent for the Indian entrepreneurs, (who can establish their presence in Africa) with the support of the Minister of External Affairs and the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.”

“This meeting is important for us to explore mutually benefitting areas of investments and finance. Thus, ASSOCHAM has to work hard to invite African businessmen to India in order to see a steadily growing Indian investment and exchange of trade. In light of this impressive development, African business committee is thankful for this opportunity of working together with India and its industries, he added.

The recently-appointed Secretary General of ASSOCHAM, Mr. Uday Kumar Varma, said that he was convinced that trade, business and expansion of industries with Africa was a case that needed to be pursued with “greater vigour, energy and drive.”

He said, “ASSOCHAM’s India-Africa Business Promotion Council undertakes various activities throughout the year around, focuses strategically on enhancing ASSOCHAM’s engagement within various African countries and also enhancing ASSOCHAM’s recognition and involvement in all Africa-related events and initiatives in India.

“Africa and India are separated by the Indian Ocean. The geographical proximity between the Horn of Africa and the Indian subcontinent has played an important role in the development of relations since ancient times.”

Diving into the historical evidence of trade relations between the two emerging superpowers, the Secretary-General said, “Historically, little is known about contacts made between Indians and Africans before the first century CE. The only surviving source, Periplus Maris Erythraei, i.e.  Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, which dates to mid-first century, refers to trade relations between the Kingdom of Aksum and ancient India.”

“Helped by the monsoon winds, merchants traded cotton, glass beads and other goods in exchange of gold and soft-carved ivory. The influence of the Indian architecture on the African Kingdom shows the level of trade development between the two civilizations,” he added.

The bilateral trade between India and Africa has only grown ever since.  With the expansion of diplomatic and commercial representations, — India has now developed ties with most of the African nations.

Trade between India and Africa stood at US$ 62.66 billion (2017-2018) making India the fourth largest trading partner of Africa.

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