Senegal invites Indian investors

NEW DELHI OCT. 13. The visiting Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, today invited Indian investors to tap Senegal to cater to the West African market as well as to increase their outreach to America and Europe.

Addressing a meeting jointly organised by CII and FICCI here, Mr. Wade said that investors from India "can look to us as an investment hub for tapping the West African nations." Senegal could also become a gateway to America and Europe because of its locational advantages, he said.

"We strongly favour wider participation of private capital in the process of economic development," he said adding that India had emerged in the recent past as the largest trading partner of the West African nation, surpassing its traditional partner France, both in terms of import and export volumes.

He hoped that foreign direct investment from India would become the highest soon.

The exports from India comprise rice, cotton yarn, fabrics, drugs and pharmaceuticals while Senegalese exports to India consist primarily of fertilizers (raw phosphates), crude and metal ores.

The total bilateral trade value stood at $222.63 million in 2002-03. Senegal offers a market size of 10 million people and has been recording 5 to 5.7 per cent GDP growth since 1994.

The Minister of State for External Affairs, Vinod Khanna, said new initiatives taken by the Indian Government had opened up many new avenues for partnership by providing enormous scope for Indian companies to expand their business presence in Africa as well as to tap other developing countries.

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