The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, yesterday, lamented that African countries have not realised their true potential in bilateral trade with India.
In his address at the 16th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India and Africa Project Partnership with the theme: “Harnessing the Africa-India Opportunity: Connect, Create, Collaborate”, the Minister said despite the fact that India is Africa’s third-largest trading partner, African countries predominantly export raw crude oil and other extractive resources to the Asian country.
He said: “As you may be aware, India is now Africa’s third-largest trading partner. Yet the bilateral trade data and patterns suggest the true potentials have not yet been realised as African countries predominantly export raw crude oil and other extractive resources to India.
“In the light of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, and as African countries aim to reduce their economic dependence on resource trade, India could play a catalytic role in Africa’s collective efforts to boost the region’s manufacturing and service exports.”
He listed the main export destinations for India in Africa to include South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Algeria, Ghana, and Ethiopia.
To improve the trade relations with India, the Minister said the Federal Government has prepared an intervention programme articulated in the form of an implementation plan relative to the different sectors in the economy.
The sectors included agriculture, manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, tourism & hospitality, transport, ICT and digital economy.
“Government’s economic policy favours and places priority on greater trade and investment in agricultural production and agro-processing industries, construction, tourism, manufacturing and export.
“These investment opportunities are embedded in the following sectors of the Nigerian economy: agriculture, solid minerals, tourism, power sector, construction and transportation.
“Furthermore, the Federal Government through the National action Committee on AfCFTA, is also working towards setting up AfCFTA implementation Focal Desks in states and have urged state governments to explore their areas of comparative advantages for economic growth and job creation,” he said.
The Minister added, “AfCFTA has great potential of creating a combined consumer and business spending of about $6.7 trillion, while offering some of the world’s biggest opportunities for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”
According to the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022.”
“In order to succeed in this 21st-century environment, a zone of any type must be adapted to the host country’s specific situation and must build on its comparative advantages. Having a long-term vision is particularly important because economic transformation can take decades. In this regard, it is important for India and Africa to undertake joint actions in order to promote synergies and coordination among the different sectors of the Economy,” he added.