As part of the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019, for the first time a dedicated “Africa Day” event is being organized on 19th January 2019 to provide a platform for global leaders and industry captains to come together to discuss the opportunities for strategic partnerships, trade and investments and further enhance the bilateral trade relations between India and Africa in general and Gujarat and Africa in particular.
Gujarat currently exports to 51 of the 54 countries of Africa, which amounted to US $ 19.6 Billion during 2017-18. Total exports to African countries from Gujarat have more than doubled in the last four years. Exports to Africa account for approximately 30% of Gujarat’s total export.
The Indo-Africa Chamber of Commerce has been appointed as partner organisation to facilitate the event. South Africa and Morocco have come on board as partner countries for the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Summit. For the first time two countries from the African continent will be partners for India’s biggest Business Summit. This speaks volumes of the rising importance of a resource-rich and fast developing continent. Close to 180 African business leaders have confirmed their participation along with at least 800 Indian businessmen. More than 100 African students currently studying in Gujarat will also attend.
The daylong event will kick off with a plenary session in the morning of the 19th of January. The Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani along with the Hon’ble Minister for External Affairs, Smt Sushma Swaraj will make a special address to the visiting delegates and participants.
H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame – President of The Republic of Rwanda and Chairperson of the African Union will give the keynote address at the plenary session.10-15 Ministers from Africa are expected to participate in the event. Approximately 20 Ambassadors/High Commissioners of African countries in Delhi have also confirmed participation.
Following the plenary session, the participants will break out into various technical sessions that have been planned on the opportunities and challenges for business and trade with Africa. Business environment in the country, export opportunities, availability of land, clearances, labour, government policies and administrative support will be some of the other topics that will engage businessmen from India looking for opportunities in Africa and vice-versa.
Sectors such as Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Textiles, Renewable Energy, Agro business, Gems & Jewellery, Mining & Minerals and Skill Development are some of the focus areas for African delegations. At least 12-15 MoUs will be signed during the Event, most notably in the healthcare, education and mineral development sectors.
Site visits to healthcare facilities such a Zydus Hospitals U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology, Amul’s Dairy Processing Plant, IIT-Gandhingar, GIFT City and the Sabarmati Riverfront will also be organised for the visiting dignitaries.
Additionally, an exclusive Africa Pavilion with an area of 2,200 sqm will be setup in the Exhibition Area for African and Indian companies to showcase products and services of mutual interest.32 out of the 54 African nations have already confirmed their participation and several countries are still expected to join in the coming weeks. On India’s end major companies such as Suzlon, Vedanta, Godrej, Zydus and Reliance etc are expected to participate.
The Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017 organized during 10 – 13 January 2017 witnessed respectable participation from the African continent. More than 160 delegates participated from over 18 African countries. Foreign dignitaries including Heads of State/Government have also graced the event over the years with their presence.
When seen in the larger context, Africa has been a priority for the Government in deepening multi-sector engagement. The Annual Meeting 2017 of African Development Bank (AfDB) was organized in Gujarat providing a perfect platform for India and Africa for deepening their economic cooperation and partnership. The Government of India also organized an “India Africa Cooperation” event, and an exhibition on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings to further enhance the bilateral relations between India and Africa. Africa’s development is a huge opportunity for India, just as Africa’s resources play a key role in driving India’s economic growth, while creating wealth and jobs in Africa. The event will go a long way in imparting greater stability and momentum to relations between India and Africa, making them equal partners on the road to growth and prosperity.