Mon, 27 Sep 2021

New Delhi [India], September 14 (ANI): Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Tuesday addressed the First India-Africa Agriculture and Food Processing Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

"On the trade and economic front, India is the fourth largest trading partner for Africa registering USD 69.7 billion trade with Africa during 2018-19 and has become the fifth largest investor in Africa with its cumulative investment at USD 70.7 billion. The Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme announced by India has benefited African nations by extending duty-free access to 98.2 per cent of India's total tariff lines. With a collective GDP of over USD 2.4 trillion and a population of more than 1.3 billion, Africa offers a great market to rising economies like India, "Muraleedharan said.

"India's long standing development partnership with African countries was officially structured under India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008. India had planned to hold the India-Africa Agriculture Ministers' Meeting in mid-March 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this had to be postponed. We hope it can be held soon," he said.

He further said, "For the socio-economic development of Africa, Government of India has executed 189 projects in 41 African countries and 77 projects are being implemented under Indian concession loans (Lines of Credits) with a total outlay of over USD 12 billion. I am happy to mention here that India has extended more than USD 6 billion concessional loans to African countries in agriculture and allied sectors. India has also extended support for the development of cotton sector in 11 African countries where India has been providing cotton technical assistance, support and cooperation, "he added.

"African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has come into force from January 01 is expected to play a greater role on pan African agriculture development. It will help Africa realize its full potential, as per their priorities in agri-business to attain self-sufficiency in food security. We may explore the possibility of increasing our economiccommercial ties with Africa making use of the available opportunities under the AfCFTA, "he added.

Ethiopia's Minister of Agriculture Oumar Hussien, Ghana's Minister of Food and Agriculture Owusu Afriyie Akoto, South Africa's Minister of Agriculture Angela Thoko Didiza, Rajiv Wahi, Chairman, CII India Africa Agriculture Core Group, Dawood Bin Ozair, CEO, Blue Star International and S Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee were present during the summit. (ANI)

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