Minister of industry, trade and investment Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, yesterday said African countries had not yet realised their true potential in bilateral trade with India.
Adebayo made this known at the 16th Confederation of India Industry – EXIM Bank (CII-EXIM) Conclave on India and Africa Project Partnership with the theme: “Harnessing the Africa-India Opportunity: Connect, Create, Collaborate.”
Adebayo, in a statement by his special assistant, media, Mr Ifedayo Sayo, said African countries predominantly exported raw crude oil and other extractive resources to India.
“India is now Africa’s third largest trading partner. Yet the bilateral trade data and patterns suggest that true potentials have not been realised as African countries predominantly export raw crude oil and other extractive resources to India.
“In the light of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as African countries aim to reduce economic dependence on resource trade, India could play a catalytic role in Africa’s collective efforts to boost manufacturing and service exports,” he said.
He listed the main export destinations for India in Africa to include South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Algeria, Ghana, and Ethiopia.
To improve the trade relations with India, Adebayo said the federal government had prepared an intervention programme articulated in the form of an implementation plan relative to different sectors in the economy.
The sectors included agriculture, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, tourism and hospitality, transport, ICT and digital economy.
“Government’s economic policy favours and places priority on greater trade and investment in agricultural production and agro-processing industries, construction, tourism, manufacturing and export.
“These investment opportunities are embedded in the following sectors of Nigerian economy; agriculture, solid minerals , tourism, power sector , construction and transportation.
“The National Action Committee on AfCFTA is also working towards setting up AfCFTA implementation focal desks in states and has urged state governments to explore their areas of comparative advantage for economic growth and job creation,” he said.
The minister added that AfCFTA had great potential of creating a combined consumer and business spending of about 6.7 trillion dollars, while offering some of the world’s biggest opportunities for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
According to the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022.
“In order to succeed in this 21st century environment, a zone of any type must be adapted to the host country’s specific situation and must build on its comparative advantages.
“Having a long-term vision is particularly important because economic transformation can take decades.
“In this regard, it is important for India and Africa to undertake joint actions in order to promote synergies and coordination among the different sectors of the economy,” he added.