Indian engineering companies should tap the investment potential in Africa and improve trade with African countries, according to officials of Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya.

Speaking at a seminar on “Focus Africa: Business and Investment Opportunities”, organised by EEPC India (formerly Engineering Export Promotion Council) in association with the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation here on Wednesday, Adebola O. Labiran, Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, New Delhi, said Nigeria and India continued to collaborate and co-ordinate economically. Indians played a major role in sectors such as textiles and construction in Nigeria. The Nigerian Government was focusing on the energy sector. It was facilitating the setting up of Independent Power Plants. India could tap the potential in this sector. Volume of trade between India and Nigeria was 10 billion dollars in 2010 and the target was to increase it to 50 billion dollars by 2015. Nigeria offered single window facility for investors to get the required approvals.

Leluu O. Abdallah, First Secretary (Political and Economic), Tanzania High Commission, New Delhi, said Tanzania had immense potential as an industrial destination. India was its biggest investor from Asia. Sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture, floriculture, cotton, sugar, textiles, leather, tourism, engineering outsourcing and mining offered immense scope to Indian companies for investment.

Sylvane M. Chongwony, Minister Counsellor, Kenya High Commission, New Delhi, urged those who had not visited Kenya to discover the potential the country offered by making it a destination for trade and investment. Kenya was a gateway to East and Central Africa and had availability of human resource and infrastructure. It had export processing zones that offered duty concessions and tax holidays to investors.

Agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, and financial services were some of the potential sectors that could be tapped by the Indian companies. Information Technology was an upcoming industry in Kenya and Indian companies could look at establishing call centres, BPOs, software development centres, training institutions, and developing broadband facilities. Mining, infrastructure, energy and construction were some of the other areas that could be tapped, she said.

K. Kasthurirangaian, Chairman of the Functional Committee for Coimbatore, EEPC India, said Coimbatore should play a larger role in the growth of India’s exports to South American and African countries. Coimbatore was a place for reliable supply of quality engineering goods. Earlier, trade to Africa from India was through the West Asian countries or the European Union. Direct exports to Africa should grow, he said.

M. Ganesan, Regional Director of EEPC India, Chennai, said the event was organised as part of the Union Government’s focus on Africa, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Engineering exports to Africa from India was growing and had huge potential for further development.

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