Honorable Union Ministerof Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution,Railways, Shri Piyush Goyal.
“The trade figures over the last 20 years where our mutual bilateral trade has grown from about $7 billion to nearly $67 billion, is reflective of this deep engagement between Africa & India” Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal
PUNE: IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a three-day long Indo-Africa Virtual Summit 2020 that began on Wednesday, November 4, 2020. The summit saw some of the leading names from both the Government of India, as well as the governments of various African nations that participated in the event.
The inaugural session on Day 1 saw the presence of Hon’ble Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Sports, Heritage and Culture, former Foreign Minister, Kenya, Dr. Amina Mohamed, as well as Honorable Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution, Railways, Shri Piyush Goyal. Mr. Madhusudan Agrawal, Honorary Consul for Uganda in India and Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Ajanta Pharma was also one of the keynote speakers.
Honorable Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution, Railways, Shri Piyush Goyal said that the long historic ties between the people of Africa and the people of India will not get affected by distance or personal meetings. “Our ties will only get stronger; we are natural partners in civilizations, culture, and progress. We are forged by strong bonds, which I believe will only get stronger,” he said.
Quoting Henry Ford, Shri Goel said coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success. “I have no doubt in my mind that the African nations and India working together will only result in success, prosperity, and a better quality of life. The association over the years has resulted in a multi-prolonged partnership,” he added.
The people of Africa and India care for each other, the minister added, saying that they can uplift each other from the current state of affairs. “We can ensure that the aspirations of all the people and the need of the hour for a better future can be taken care of collectively. In fact, the more we collaborate, the more we will remain committed to each other,” he said.
Stating that both African countries and India have common problems including food security concerns around malnourishment, inequalities, terrorism, both India and African nations can work together to build solidarity amongst each other. “With our collaboration, we can bring about new relations,” he said.
He further added that COVID-19 has brought about the need for international collaboration and working together with care and concern, the faster the world will come out of this pandemic. “India commits itself that it will act responsibly, act as a partner with all friendly nations and be trusted support to all its friends when it comes to providing medicines, vaccines, etc.,”
Mr. Rajeev Poddar, President, IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomed the distinguished guests and said, “India and Africa are two of the most vibrant economies in the world. They share a rich history of culture, economics, and bilateral trade. They have seen an increase in trade in the past two decades,” he said.
While speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Poddar said that the governments of India and the African nations could come together and help in the global revival of the economy. “The African continental free trade that came into force in 2019. Indian companies can benefit from setting up industry in Africa. As of June 2020, India had extended 121 lines of credit to 41 African countries to set up businesses there. With an emphasis on infrastructure, finance, technology, and to reach a $100 billion bilateral trade,” he said, adding hoping for both India and the African nations to work together for a sustainable future.
Dr. Amina Mohamed, Hon’ble Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Sports, Heritage and Culture, former Foreign Minister, Kenya, who was one of the keynote speakers, said, “The African continent is vast, which is rich in natural resources. It has a young population, and the African nations are witnessing growth. 31 nations saw a GDP growth greater than the world’s average,” she said.
While speaking on the solid foundation of the relations between India and Africa, she added that Vasco da Gama was aided by sailors from Africa, and a trader from India to reach Calicut. “India and Africa have been friends for a longer time and sailors from both nations have visited each other. The evidence of our bilateral relations can be seen by Indian and African tribes living in each other’s nations for centuries,” she said.
She even spoke about how Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru participated in several liberation movements for Africa. “As I said, the friendship between India and African nations has continued for centuries and still stays strong today. It is stronger than the friendship between African nations with other nations as well,” she added.
While speaking on the relationship between India and Kenya, Dr. Mohamed said that both nations should continue their high-level views of both nations. “This relationship cannot benefit one side over the other. In fact, we need each other more than ever. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Africa should be in India’s list of priorities; we feel the same way about India,” she said.
Mr. Madhusudan Agrawal, while quoting Mahatma Gandhi said that he is in debt to the continent for making Mahatma Gandhi. “Most countries such as Uganda, and Africa is on the growth trajectory welcoming Indian investors. India is gearing up to be a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and looks to invest in Africa. More than digital pathways, India’s association with Africa has been about the human touch, which is wonderful to see in this time and place,” he said.
Sam Bhembe, Non-Executive Director, ABN Group gave the vote of thanks and said that international trade is very important to create sustainable societies. We have to develop that, bring forth the talent and capabilities of our people.
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