Sharma: FTA with Africa Next Logical Step for India

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Nov. 17 – Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma believes that the relationship between India and Africa will be the defining partnership of the 21st Century and stated that an FTA with different regions on the continent would be the next logical step during the India Economic Summit in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Speaking at a session titled “The New South: Developing the Africa-India Partnership,” Sharma expressed his beliefs that India and Africa share a special strategic relationship which targets each other’s strengths, experiences and resources in a mutually beneficial manner.

“India has set up an institutional mechanism to deepen its partnership with Africa, and is taking a number of steps to reduce poverty, provide health and food security in Africa,” Sharma said.

Speaking during the same session, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga said that Africa is strategically situated to partner with India and the two can mutually spur bilateral development.

“We see Africa’s relationship with Brazil, India and China as strategic. They are important in the quest for socio-economic development of our continent,” he said.

Other panelists speaking during the summit stated that the similarities between Africa and India will lead to significant cooperation and trade of around US$70 billion in the next two years.

James T. Motlatsi, deputy chairman of AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa, contrasted India’s engagement in the country with China’s, criticizing the latter for investing in Africa only for its resources and not for the development of the continent. He termed the Chinese strategy there as a “new form of colonialism” while adding that India’s strategy in Africa will help alleviate poverty in both regions.

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