Since the launch of “Focus Africa” programme in 2002 by the Government of India, bilateral ties between African countries and India have continued to strengthen and their economic bonds yielded bountifully. They have maximized potential sectors to steer trade and investments to build stronger economies. One of the objectives India has accomplished is extending the lines of credit, with Rwanda being a perfect example and beneficiary of the same.
Between 2016-17, India’s exports to Africa had gone up to $23 billion, from $14 billion recorded in 2007-08. Imports from Africa stood at $28 billion in 2016-17, up from the previous $20 billion in 2007-08. The top five African countries that record high exports to India include Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and South Africa. Between 2010-15, Nigeria was India’s largest trading partner in Africa.
India has been keen on improving the volume of imports and exports with Africa, as a primary mandate to support the governments and the private sector. In a World Economic Forum that was held in 2014, India and Africa set a target of achieving $500 billion in the trade by 2020. The objective is usually assessed through the various summits to check on the progress.
With the trade value of $42 billion per annum, Africa and India can achieve their dream by improving the business environment, which has been a key performance indicator especially with East African countries, among other factors. High rates of investments between the two can lure more businesses with better returns. With better incentives provided by African governments, more Indian investors can be attracted to enter the markets.
The recent visit by India’s Prime Minister Modi is a clear indication that the country is more than willing to continue doing business in Africa. The partners have not fully maximized their business potential due to a number of barriers but their tenacity is reflective of their efforts to increase trade.