Africa Business Communities

India-Kenya to Enhance Bilateral Trade to $ 2.5 Billion by 2012-13

India and Kenya have decided to enhance the level of cooperation between the two countries in the spirit of South-South cooperation. This was decided in a meeting between Mr. Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and Mr. Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya, held at Nairobi, Kenya on 14th October, 2010. Mr. Sharma recalled the historical relationship between the two countries and the support provided by India to Kenya in its freedom struggle.

It was pointed out by Mr. Sharma that following the Delhi Declaration of 2008, which had set the roadmap of cooperation, there had been a deepening and strengthening of ties between India and the African continent. In recent years, Indian companies from the private and public sector had shown a growing interest in Kenya. The level of Indian investment in Kenya had reached a figure of US $ 1.5 billion. Mr. Sharma reiterated that India was focusing on human capital development, and Kenya was a partner in this as a large number of students from the country were studying in India.

The implementation of the Pan Africa e-network project was also discussed. Mr. Sharma pointed out that the project was already making a significant contribution in fields of tele-education and tele-medicine in many African countries. 47 African countries have signed the Agreement for implementing this project. It was acknowledged that this project had bridged the digital divide. Kenya had signed the Agreement with TCIL, India in July, 2010 and very soon the system will be operationalized. Mr. Sharma, Commerce and Industry Minister of India informed the Kenyan Prime Minister that as part of its commitment to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya, India had recently extended a Line of Credit (LoC) of US $ 61.6 million for executing a Power Transmission project.

Mr. Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya recalled the historical contribution of Mr. Appa Pant, India’s first High Commissioner to Kenya, in laying a strong foundation of India-Kenya relations. Mr. Odinga further pointed out that his father had visited India in the early 1950s to observe the functioning of democracy in the newly independent nation. The Kenyan Prime Minister acknowledged the significant role that India had played in enriching the Human Resource Development of Kenya. Mr. Odinga informed Mr. Sharma that he planned to visit India in mid-November, 2010 to participate in the World Economic Forum’s ‘India Economic Summit’.

Mr. Sharma highlighted the contribution of the Indian pharmaceutical industry in making available life saving medicines at affordable prices, especially through generic medicines. He conveyed India’s concerns on the attempts being made outside the WTO and WIPO Forums to confuse Indian generic medicines with counterfeits. With respect to the global standards and benchmarks, Indian pharmaceutical companies are the best. The largest USA FDA approvals for non-US companies are of Indian companies. He requested that Kenya may keep this in view while implementing the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Act and the proposal to have a similar legislation at the East African Community (EAC) level.

Mr. Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and Mr. Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya agreed that there was a great potential for increasing the scope of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Information Technology; agriculture including agro-processing ; infrastructure development sectors like road, rail, and energy including generation, transmission and distribution of power; oil & gas; manufacturing; and healthcare. Following the 6th India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee Meeting (JTC) held on 13th October, 2010, these sectors would get focused attention.

Mr. Anand Sharma inaugurated on 14th October, 2010, the ‘Namaskar Africa’ event being organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India during 14 to 15th October, 2010 at Nairobi. The event comprises of an ‘India Exhibition’ and the ‘India-East Africa Business Forum’ with participation of business delegations from 12 East African countries. The Forum had the largest ever business delegation from India. The Forum will consider in its deliberations issues pertaining to increasing agricultural productivity and local value additions through advance technologies; multilateral funding mechanisms; India’s Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme for Least Developed countries (LDCs) and specific sectors of power, health and ICT. ‘Namaskar Africa’ is an exclusive networking forum of African and Indian enterprises offering trade, investments and joint venture opportunities across the sectors of mutual interest to both the sides. ‘India- East Africa Business Forum’ has brought together the policy makers, businessmen, financial institutions, multilateral funding agencies, procurement agencies, investment bodies, regional bodies and sectoral nodal institutions from India and the 12 countries of East Africa for a business dialogue, to share their experience and learnings for mutual growth and discuss the project specific opportunities in identified sectors for mutual collaboration.

While inaugurating the ‘Namaskar Africa’ event, Mr. Sharma stressed the fact that India’s relationship with the African continent was a unique and distinct partnership based on trust, friendship and respect for each other’s cultures. He emphasized that we need to find ways to further deepen and strengthen our engagement with the African continent.

Earlier on 13th October, 2010, Mr. Anand Sharma, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India co-chaired the 6th India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee Meeting (JTC) with Mr. Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Hon’ble Minister of Trade of the Government of Kenya, at Nairobi, Kenya. The Indian and Kenyan delegations discussed a host of bilateral economic and trade issues and many important decisions were arrived at.

Mr. Sharma informed that during the 6th India-Kenya JTC Meeting, the two sides had set a target of bilateral trade of US $ 2.5 bn in the next three years, i.e. by Financial Year 2012-13, and also identified the steps to be taken towards this objective. Current level of bilateral trade is US $ 1.5 bn (in F.Y. 2009-10).

The JTC reviewed the implementation of the Pan Africa e-network in Kenya and Kenya has agreed to identify the site locations by the end of October, 2010. The network enables sharing of India’s expertise in the field of healthcare and education with all the members of the African Union. 47 countries in Africa have already signed the Agreement with TCIL and 119 sites/centers have been commissioned / integrated with the e-network.

Mr. Sharma highlighted that India offered to collaborate in the Kenyan efforts for revival of its textiles sector, which accounts for 30 % of Kenya’s industrial workforce, by providing technical assistance in skill building for the entire value chain, transfer of technology in ginning and processing, collaboration with Indian Textiles Research Association and exploratory visits for businessmen and Buyer-Seller Meets.

JTC took note of the offer of a Line of Credit (LoC) of US $ 61.6 million made by India to Kenya for ‘Power Transmission Lines’, which would help in augmenting Kenya’s infrastructure.

During the JTC meeting, the Kenyan side appreciated India’s concerns on the Kenyan Anti-Counterfeit Act and stated that the legitimate Indian trade concerns in this regard would be addressed.

Mr. Sharma said that India and Kenya had agreed towards greater engagement between the ‘Kenya Investment Authority’ and ‘InvestIndia’, which would help in trade and investment flows between the two countries. Decision was taken to fast-track the finalization of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) and a revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries. Functioning of MoU in the Medium and Small Scale Industries sector was reviewed. The two sides also agreed to take steps towards early signing of Agreements/MoUs in the field of Tourism and Civil Aviation and finalization of MoUs in the areas of Human Resource Development, Standards and Scientific/Industrial Research.

According to Mr. Sharma, the key sectors identified for bilateral cooperation were agriculture including agro-processing; drugs and pharmaceuticals; infrastructure development sectors like road, rail, and energy including generation, transmission and distribution of power, airport; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); oil & gas; manufacturing; and healthcare.

Mr. Sharma hoped that the JTC and the ‘Namskar Africa’ event at Nairobi, Kenya would provide further stimulus to the growing relationship between India and Kenya.

This article was originally posted on East Africa Business Communities

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