Addis Ababa, July 18 :
India is gradually expanding its investment footprint across Africa, with the East African nation of Ethiopia alone benefitting from billions of dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Asian giant in multiple economic sectors.
In a meeting with a visiting delegation of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here earlier this week, officials of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) said that trade and investment of the two countries have shown significant progress over the last few years.
As a result, the total trade turnover of the two countries reached $1.3 billion in 2013 from nearly $200 million in 2004.
On the other hand, Ethiopian exports to India registered close to $36 million in 2013 from $10 million in 2004 and imports from $1.2 million to 103 million in the same period.
“Well, the balance of trade remains highly in favour of India. This shows that a lot of effort is required from the Ethiopian side,” said Solomon Afeworke, president of the ECCSA.
In this regard, Ethiopia has modelled its export-driven strategy on Indian lines with the socio-economic conditions and culture of the two countries being similar.
The ECCSA has also signed a number of memorandums of understanding with Indian chambers of commerce like the CII, the Indo-Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IACCI) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
This has resulted in India playing a a formidable role in further strengthening and promoting trade and investment between the two nations, according to Afeworke.
“India has proved itself to be dependable and a great friend in Africa and particularly to Ethiopia to this end”, he stated.
“The economic relations between India and Africa bear remarkable success; moreover India has proven its unfinished commitment to boost its economic trade and investment ties with African countries with the kind of collaboration that emanates out of mutual benefit, understanding and trust to the extent that our continent couldn’t have had a better development ally than India.”
According to him, Indian investments in Ethiopia were also showing significant expansion. Indian investors had received licences for 365 projects in agriculture, information and communication technology (ICT), education, hotel and tourism sectors, involving a total registered capital of more than 43 billion birr (about $2.18 billion) between 1992 and 2012.
Moreover, Indian companies have invested in 180 projects in partnership with Ethiopian entrepreneurs within that period, creating more than 33,000 permanent and 237,000 temporary jobs for Ethiopia, Afeworke added.
“Besides job creation, we hope it will help facilitate technology and knowledge transfer as there is immense investment opportunity in the areas of agriculture, livestock, agro-processing, manufacturing, energy, construction, real estate and tourism,” he said.
On his part, Subramanian Venkataraman, head of the delegation and country head and CEO of State Bank of India, said there was a synergy between India and Ethiopia.
“If we collaborate together probably because Ethiopia is also a developing country like India, both the countries will see flourishing development,” he said.
India is the second largest foreign investor in Ethiopia with approved investment running to $4.8 billion. Of this, an estimated $2.5 billion is already on the ground and there are 622 Indian projects approved by the Ethiopian Investment Agency (EIA) that are being carried out in Ethiopia.
About 35 percent of the Indian investment is in the field of agriculture, according to data from EIA.
“India also wants to further its relations with Ethiopia and work in the areas it could highly contribute and my delegation will be able to work closely with Ethiopian counterparts,” Venkataraman said.