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Updated: October 17, 2013 10:41 IST

Technology's call

Sujay Mehdudia
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The government has initiated steps for setting up IT parks and other ICT related activities in a number of African countries to augment exports

Indian Information Technology (IT) presence in Africa should be considerably enhanced by setting up IT parks in African nations, since a number of countries in the region have fast-tracked creation of such facilities and are seeking Indian support for this purpose.

At a roundtable in the Capital attended by over 20 envoys from several African countries, Ravi Bangar, Additional Secretary (E&A), Ministry of External Affairs, said that higher economic growth achieved by most of the countries in Africa, coupled with improved political stability, huge size of the market and population numbering over one billion, could unbound huge opportunities for the Indian IT companies.

“The government has initiated steps for setting up IT parks and other ICT related activities in a number of African countries like Ethiopia, Senegal, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania. Indian IT companies should form meaningful partnerships with the private companies in these countries, which can help grooming local entrepreneurs. Credit lines given by the government could be effectively used in investing in the countries,” Mr. Bangar said.

He invited African companies to participate in a bigger way in the forthcoming 14 edition of Indiasoft, organised by Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) with the support of the government in Mumbai in November.

African diplomats stressed on the need for Indian companies investing in e-governance, e-banking, e-learning, particularly using computer applications for teaching mathematics and science. They also wanted Indian investment in creating digital infrastructure. In this regard it was pointed out that IIT Delhi was actively involved in the training, particularly vocational training and training of teachers in some African countries.   

Vinod Sharma, chairman, ESC pointed out that India could also meet the hardware requirements of African countries. Many of the hardware designs and products, which African countries are sourcing mainly from the West, are carried out in India. He wanted the African countries to build direct links with Indian companies. 

Listing the items that are being exported from India to Africa, which form close to 30 per cent of its domestic requirement, he said CRT, picture tubes, inverters, radios, sound equipment, medical equipment, etc. top the list.

Speaking about Indiasoft, D.K. Sareen, executive director, ESC, said that cutting edge products and solutions would be displayed at the event. He said that India’s total exports of software and services to African continent, which was pegged at $ one billion was far below the potential and could be augmented, particularly by sourcing directly from India.

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