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President seeks new avenues for business in Africa

Scouting for new avenues for Indian businesses, President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that a considerable amount of the capital generated in India seeks new destinations outside the country, including in resource-rich Africa.

President seeks new avenues for business in Africa
President Pranab Mukherjee being welcomed by Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara

Recalling ancient trade and economic linkages between India and Africa, the President said business and economic activity has always been a major driver of India’s close and friendly ties with Africa.

Addressing the Business Forum of local businessmen, Mukherjee said Cote d’Ivoire is expected to grow at a rate of 9.6 per cent which makes it a prime destination for investment in Africa and second fastest growing economy after Ethiopia. 

“For Ivorian businessmen, the opportunities offered by India are not new. India has recorded a steady growth at the rate of 7.6 per cent each year for over a decade now. The comprehensive reforms introduced in key areas of our economy have enhanced the ease of doing business in India,” he said. 

The President said country’s foreign investment regime has been liberalised through simplified procedures and the removal of several restricting provisions. Mukherjee said in 2014, India recorded 32 per cent growth in investments and has emerged as one of the biggest global investment destinations. 

“India as an economy has grown and matured; a considerable amount of the capital generated in India seeks new destinations outside the country, including in Africa. Indian investors are aware of the potential of Cote d’Ivoire; with its large land mass, rich natural resources and youthful demography, as an important investment destination,” he said.

Mukherjee said India looks forward to partnering with Cote d’Ivoire — particularly in the agricultural processing sector and the exploration and mining of minerals. 

He asked businessmen of Cote d’Ivoire to take advantage of the Indian government’s initiatives such as Make in India.

“India is the 5th largest trading partner of Ivory Coast — and yet, we continue to see that despite the positive environment of growth in our two countries, our bilateral trade has remained at modest levels. It has not grown beyond USD 840 million, which is far below the true potential that we can and must fully realise,” he said. 

Cote d’Ivoirie, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, on Wednesday sought investment from India’s private sector, particularly in processing the main ingredient in chocolates, to further strengthen trade ties with India. President of Cote d’Ivoirie Alassane Ouattara expressed interest in Indian private sector investment during his talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a two-day trip to the West African country as part his three-nation Africa tour.

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