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India, Africa to beef up business ties


New Delhi : Over 400 delegates from African countries are participating in a three-day India-Africa business conclave that started here Sunday, seeking ways to boost bilateral economic ties, an industry lobby said.

The major focus of the fifth CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership is infrastructure development in Africa, and both sides are also seeking enhanced ties to beat the effect of the slowdown, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), one of the organisers of the event, said.

The delegates from both sides will discuss projects worth over $12 billion during the three-day event. The fourth conclave, held in New Delhi in March 2008, had discussed projects worth over $10 billion.

The presence of a strong Indian diaspora in several African countries further improves the ties between Indian and African business and trade networks, CII said.

A bulk of India’s investment in Africa is going to sectors like manufacturing, non-financial services such as IT and IT enabled services (ITES) and energy.

Sudan and Mauritius are among the top five investment destinations for India, with both accounting for about 18 percent of India’s total foreign investment flow.

However, infrastructure in the region still remains a critical area for investment.

The conclave will be addressed by a number of political leaders, business heads and financial experts from both regions.

The deliberations will be sector-focused and conducted in 17 different sessions.

The other focus areas of discussion are project financing, mining and minerals, agriculture and agro-processing, energy, consultancy, transport connectivity, SME (small and medium enterprises) promotion, pharmaceuticals and healthcare and human capital formation.